Queen honours Welwyn woman for services to dementia care

PUBLISHED: 15:29 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:29 11 June 2018

Janette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette Burt

Janette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette Burt

supplied by Janette Burt

A Welwyn woman has been recognised in the Queen's birthday honours for her tireless work to bring better dementia care to Hertfordshire.

Janette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette BurtJanette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette Burt

If you’ve had support from an Admiral nurse in Hertfordshire, you might not realise that it’s only possible because of one determined woman.

When her late husband, Victor, was diagnosed with dementia in 2004, RAF veteran Janette Burt found that there was very little support available.

Currently, the provision of specialist Admiral nurses, who support patients with dementia and their families, is a postcode lottery.

Victor passed away in 2015, and in his memory Jan decided to start a campaign.

Jan at one of her fundraising events. Picture: supplied by Janette BurtJan at one of her fundraising events. Picture: supplied by Janette Burt

Back then, she said, it was an illness nobody talked about.

READ MORE: Welwyn veteran opens up about late husband’s dementia

Janette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette BurtJanette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette Burt

“That’s why I started on this campaign of awareness and fundraising to get Admiral nurses for Hertfordshire,” she told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

She began holding events, auctions, and working with Dementia UK, and has raised £85,000 since 2010.

At first, she aimed to get enough money for one nurse, and ended up providing Hertfordshire with four, who serve over 200 people.

“Sadly I didn’t benefit from it,” she said. “But I’ve seen the difference it makes for other people.”

Janette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette BurtJanette Burt from Welwyn has received a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours. Picture: supplied by Janette Burt

Martin Bishop, director of fundraising and communications at Dementia UK, said: “All of us here at Dementia UK wish Jan a huge heartfelt congratulations.

“Jan has been a volunteer ambassador with us for a number of years now.

“Through her enthusiasm and determination, we are well on the road to ensuring we are there for every family facing dementia.”

Jan pointed out that the current elderly generation don’t always know how to reach out for help. “They’re a generation that says ‘I will look after you in sickness and in health,’ - they just plod on,” said Jan.

When an Admiral nurse is provided, “it’s like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.”

Then, four weeks ago, Jan received a letter from Theresa May’s office saying that Lord Laming, a longtime supporter of her work, had nominated her for a BEM for services to people with dementia and their families.

She will be invited to meet the Lord Lieutenant and, next year, to the Queen’s garden party.

“I’m very proud and honoured,” said Jan. “I’m a big traditionalist and royalist person, so it’s the icing on the cake.

“I obviously haven’t done it for the honour,” she said. “Just to see people who’ve got the support and the difference it makes to them is the reward I get, personally.

“I did it for Victor.

“I’m sure he’d be very proud.”

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