When Royal Bolton Hospital healthcare assistant, Andrea Greenall, received notification that she had made the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, it was a notification which she readily admits almost went in the trash folder. Thankfully, the Kearsley resident, who has spent 24 years working in the NHS, followed up with calls to the Cabinet Office and was officially awarded the British Empire Medal on Thursday (9th September).
“I actually thought my letter was a spam email,” Andrea said as she looks back to receiving the official email from the Cabinet Office. “The only thing which told me it might be more official was that it had my home address on it and it was at that point that I realised it was proper.”
Andrea, who receives the British Empire Medal in recognition of her services to the NHS during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the first ever COVID mobile-swabbing team, joined such luminaries as Maureen Lipman and Mary Berry in receiving the honour. But after confirming the honour was legitimate she had to endure several weeks of secrecy before the award was officially announced.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “The hardest part ever was not being able to tell anybody, which for someone like me was very difficult. That was the hardest secret I have ever had to keep, I didn’t tell my family or friends. The only person who knew was my husband.”