INSPIRATIONAL nursing staff were honoured at an emotional awards ceremony.

The Director of Nursing Awards, now in its ninth year, recognises the individuals and teams of nursing staff who have shown extraordinary care and compassion to patients.

Hundreds of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants filled a marquee at The Elvetham Hotel in Hartley Wintney to see nursing staff at Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester hospitals formally recognised and thanked.

There were a record 259 nominations from patients this year, with the winners picked by a panel of judges, including governors of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The winners of the Rotary Club awards each received an award and an invitation to dinner with the relevant club, while the recipients of the individual awards were handed a £100 Virgin experience voucher and the winning teams each received £1,000.

Donna Green, chief nurse, said that her recent stay in hospital had made her realise how vital good nursing care is to patients.

She said: “When I was in hospital I was not worried about how many nurses there were or how nice they were, it was whether they could do their job.

Nice but dim just doesn’t cut it.

“I had a huge amount of respect for a nurse who said very honestly that she didn’t know what to do and went to ask advice from a colleague.

“What you all do is incredibly important.

You make a big difference to people’s lives.”

The Rotary Club of Andover gave an award to staff nurse Julie Day, whose nomination described her as “very approachable, friendly and helpful”.

Before the ceremony, there was a talk by Caroline Redman- Lusher, the founder and director of Rock Choir.

She gave a presentation on her journey from teacher to leader of the world’s largest contemporary choir.