General Manager, Adult services

I love the NHS, firstly for all of the amazing NHS staff who work with compassion and commitment to take care of us when our health isn't so great. The second reason is that the NHS has given me a fulfilling, fascinating and exciting career that I had never imagined before joining in my mid forties. It all happened as a lucky accident in 2004 when I was temping and given a short term assignment as a Project Administrator for Crawley PCT. Prior to that I worked in retail banking for 20 year, followed by six years at University as a mature student. Not only did joining the NHS open my eyes to all the amazing and diverse things that are done here but also introduced me to many colleagues who were not out for themselves. They supported and gently nudged me to take on different roles and to believe in myself.

I can't imagine what life would be without the NHS - before joining, I just rang a doctor if there was something wrong with me and was given medicine or sent to see someone else who knew what to do and I got better; that was the beginning and end of my interest in the NHS at the time. I often think now how much I took it all for granted. It was always just there, that is why it is so important to celebrate how lucky we are in this country to have such a wonderful institution.

I am most proud of the daily stories of staff out in the community delivering great care in often challenging situations but always with the patient's interest as number one priority.

I have many NHS heroes, all colleagues past or present. If were to pick one it would probably have to be my first boss at Crawley PCT, Steve Williams, who believed in me and kept exposing me to a raft of experiences.