Better Care

Lord Mayor's Award for 'unsung hero' Michelle

Michelle Snipe and Lord Mayor Coun John Lines
Michelle Snipe and Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor John Lines
Community children’s and palliative care nurse Michelle Snipe has been awarded the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Award in recognition of ‘outstanding achievement and exceptional service’ to the city of Birmingham.

Michelle was nominated by a group of families who wanted to express their gratitude for her willingness to go beyond the call of duty to support them in caring for their children.

Michelle, a nurse for nearly 30 years, leads the community children’s and palliative care team covering the east and north of Birmingham, providing care for children and young adults who, predominantly, have complex needs. She previously worked at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.

“I was completely taken aback when I heard I had won the award,” said Michelle, who is based at the Carnegie Centre in Hockley.

“It’s a real honour - the people who nominated me have such full lives caring for their children’s needs; so it’s even more special that they have taken the time to do this.”

Michelle was nominated by grateful mums Ann Withington, Emma Murphy, Fiona Shields and Loretta Haughy. Ann said the award was deserved recognition for the care Michelle provides for her four-year-old daughter, Rosie.

“She’s absolutely brilliant. I can phone her anytime,” says Ann, who has five children, including one whom the family fosters.

“Having someone at the end of the phone who knows your child’s whole history, is priceless.”

Emma Murphy said the families were pleased to have found a way to publicly demonstrate their gratitude and explained that her three-year-old son Hugh has benefited hugely from Michelle’s care.

“Hugh had been in a high dependency unit before Michelle became his nurse when he was about 18 months old, “ says Emma.

 “At one stage, his breathing would stop suddenly. We had to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation almost daily and couldn’t sleep at night. Michelle battled to get a monitor to alert us if he stopped breathing in the night.

“Having Hugh in hospital is a last resort for us – we want him to spend as much time as possible at home. Because Michelle has been with us throughout the journey, she can tell us straight away what is best and we have full confidence in her advice.”

The Lord Mayor’s Awards were established in 2010 to recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals or organisations whose efforts have brought about significant benefits to residents and communities in Birmingham and improved the image and fabric of the city.

Lord Mayor Councillor John Lines said: “On becoming Lord Mayor it was my intention to seek out the unsung heroes of our city, like Michelle, who are often the most modest members of the community, yet make a tremendous difference to the quality of people’s lives and the vitality of the city as a whole.”