Our Angel Valerie is honoured

NORTHERN Ireland Children’s Hospice Nurse, Ballymena woman Valerie Peacock has proved she’s world class after being awarded third place in the prestigious International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards 2013.

Tuesday, 9th April 2013, 9:46 am
L-R) Macmillan Cancer Support Director for England, Stephen Richards, Northern Ireland Childrens Hospice Nurse, Valerie Peacock and Adrienne Betteley, Palliative and End of Life Care Programme Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support. Valerie Peacock was awarded third place in the prestigious International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards 2013 which were sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support.

At the prominent London ceremony, Valerie was one of three people from across the world to win the award, recognising her pioneering work around bereavement support for families who experience the tragedy of losing a child.

She came third in the ‘Development’ category of the Awards, with first and second place going to professionals from India and Tokyo respectively.

Speaking about the achievement, Valerie said: “As a specialist palliative care nurse working within the Children’s Hospice community team over the last 13 years, I have been privileged to work with very special children and their families.

“I’m extremely passionate about the work carried out at Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and it’s a great honour to be recognised in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards.”

The Children’s Hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist was responsible for developing the Hospice Bereavement Service after recognising a gap in response to bereaved families’ needs. As a result of Valerie’s work, support such as one-to-one sessions with bereaved families, regional support groups, an annual remembrance service and telephone support via an ‘on call’ service now exists to help families who have lost a child.

One parent describes how Valerie Peacock helped them through the birth and death of their baby who lived for 12 hours, saying: “We didn’t know where to turn, having Valerie to talk to helped us to prepare ourselves and our other children for the baby’s birth and death.”

Valerie was also responsible for championing pre-natal bereavement support as well as the support of mothers who are mourning loss following failed IVF attempts. One mother who experienced failed IVF attempts gives testament to the Ballymena nurse’s support during the difficult period saying: “Valerie has been the only person in the world that I have talked to about how I feel.”

Hilary Maguire, Community Services Manager at Children’s Hospice said: “This award is well deserved. Valerie’s quiet determination and passion has been instrumental in making a difference to the lives of parents, siblings and families who have lost a child. The fact that an award which is largely adult-service orientated has been presented to a children’s palliative care specialist is testament to Valerie’s contribution to the care of children with palliative care needs and their families over the last 12 years.”