Award for play specialist Keren

A DEDICATED member of staff at Ipswich Hospital's children's wards has today been given a top award for her efforts.Keren Brooke, who has worked at the hospital for the past 17 years, has been named the best play specialist in the East of England after being nominated by her colleagues and patients.

A DEDICATED member of staff at Ipswich Hospital's children's wards has today been given a top award for her efforts.

Keren Brooke, who has worked at the hospital for the past 17 years, has been named the best play specialist in the East of England after being nominated by her colleagues and patients.

Dr Michael Bamford, a senior paediatric consultant, said: “She has championed the rights and needs of children within hospital and established the role of play in the emotional support of sick children and in accelerating recovery.

“She has extended her role outside of the hospital to children with chronic and terminal diseases and their siblings. Within this era in the NHS of cost drives and the erosion of core values she remains an inspiration.”

Mrs Brooke is a familiar face to thousands of children and their families and was instrumental in helping to drive The Evening Star's Let Them Play campaign which raised £30,000 for a new children's play area at the hospital.

Her job involves using fun and games to aid children's recovery as well as using it to help assess their problems.

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The award scheme was set up by the Rays of Sunshine children's charity which works closely with play specialists across the UK, granting the wishes of terminally and seriously ill children.

Mrs Brooke's nomination was endorsed by Kirstie Ferrari-Edwards, of Ipswich, whose son Sean is being treated at Ipswich Hospital for neuroblastoma, a cancer which attacks nerve cells.

She said: “Keren has built a fantastic relationship with my son. Through all of his treatment, operations and emotional turmoil she has been the one to get him through.

“Even when other people have tried it's Keren who works her magic, calming, supporting my son. We certainly couldn't have coped without her, she has been one of our 'rocks'.”

Mrs Brooke and the five other regional winners will attend an awards ceremony on Monday at Heathrow where the national winner will be announced.

The regional winners will receive high street vouchers to the value of £250 and the overall winner will receive a trophy and a five day holiday to New York for three people.

Has Keren made a difference to your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk >

www.raysofsunshine.org.uk

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