Willow blog

Nursing leadership scholarship honours Anna’s legacy

August 9, 2019

Willow Life-Presidents, Bob & Megs Wilson, are delighted that The Florence Nightingale Foundation and University of Hertfordshire have launched a new nursing leadership scholarship to honour the legacy of their daughter, Anna.

The Anna Carey Community Nurse Scholarship application process opened on Thursday 8 August. Community nurses working across Hertfordshire are encouraged to apply for the year-long leadership scholarship programme.

Willow is the only national charity fulfilling uplifting and unforgettable Special Days for seriously ill young adults. Founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter, Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs, Willow is a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. Anna’s love of life and the enriching experiences of her own Special Days were the charity’s inspiration.

Anna, whose nickname was ‘Willow’, married and lived in Knebworth. She worked as a community nursing sister, having studied and graduated at the University of Hertfordshire and trained at Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

Anna’s Dad and Willow Co-founder, Bob Wilson, says “Anna loved her job and returned to it following her initial diagnosis and surgery. Creating this scholarship, recognising the hard work and dedication of other community nurses, is the ideal way to honour her memory. We couldn’t be more proud and for it to happen in Willow’s 20th anniversary year, means all the more to our family.”

Professor Greta Westwood, Florence Nightingale Foundation Chief Executive, was touched by Anna’s story and set about organising the scholarship, explaining “Community nurses have an important and invaluable role in providing health care and support in the community away from hospitals. In her role, Anna will have helped and touched the lives of many patients, as well as nursing colleagues in Hertfordshire. We are proud to provide this new leadership scholarship as Anna’s legacy. We are also grateful for the match funding sponsorship from the University of Hertfordshire.”

Both Bob and Megs hold Honorary Doctorates at the University of Hertfordshire and the students and faculty have long supported Willow.

Jackie Kelly, Dean of the School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, said: “The University of Hertfordshire is delighted to jointly sponsor The Anna Carey Community Nurse Scholarship. As a registered nurse and former community nurse myself, I recognise the importance of leadership to all nurses, and in particular for community nurses who often work very autonomously. I would encourage all our local, talented community nurses who are keen to enhance their skills and develop their career to apply for this unique opportunity.”

The successful applicant will begin their scholarship year in April 2020, Florence Nightingale’s bicentennial year.