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NZ Red Cross Nurse Receives Florence Nightingale Medal

New Zealand Red Cross Nurse Receives Florence Nightingale Medal


Gisborne nurse Janet Askew has today been invested with the Florence Nightingale Medal, in a ceremony held in her home town due to her terminal illness.

The investiture ceremony is usually held at Government House but Ms Askew is receiving treatment for cancer and is unable to travel.

The medal is awarded by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and is the highest international distinction a nurse can receive.

New Zealand Red Cross secretary general Tony Paine says Ms Askew has demonstrated the personal qualities of courage and bravery many times in her career and the award recognises her outstanding commitment and devotion to duty.

“Janet is a highly motivated and dedicated professional who very much works for those affected by armed conflict or natural disaster. She shows a real willingness to understand the local context, and her sensitivity puts her at ease in every situation,” he says.

Ms Askew has worked for New Zealand Red Cross (seconded to ICRC and IFRC) for the last decade, and has completed missions to Sudan, Indonesia and Iraq. She was forced to retire from duty last year when she became ill while serving in Lebanon.

Ms Askew says an aid worker needs to be extremely resilient to cope with the travel, different climates, and challenging situations they work within. But despite all this she loved the job.

“It is with great sadness that I now cannot continue. I have never done this work expecting medals. In fact, I think the people who were suffering should have been getting the medals, not me. However, I think that the medal is making my family very proud of me and that only has to be a good thing.”

Today’s investiture was held at the Lawson Field Theatre, Vogel Street, Gisborne and was attended by Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, New Zealand Red Cross national president Dr Jenny McMahon, New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine, and several other New Zealand Red Cross aid workers.

ENDS

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