Published: 31/12/2009 00:00 - Updated: 04/02/2010 14:30

Band Aid nurse Claire Bertschinger made a Dame in New Year Honours

Written byBy Web Reporter

A SHEERING nurse who has helped patients in crisis-stricken countries for more than 25 years is among just 47 people across Herts and Essex to appear on the 2010 New Year Honours list.

It was revealed today (Thursday, December 31) that Dr Claire Bertschinger, who played a pivotal role in humanitarian efforts during the 1984 Ethopian famine and inspired Bob Geldof's legendary fund-raiser Band Aid, has been awarded the title of Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) - the female equivalent of a knighthood.

Now a course director at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she first captured the public's imagination when BBC newscaster Michael Buerk interviewed her for a special report on the African crisis a quarter of a century ago. She was running a feeding centre in the city of Mek'ele, one of Ethiopia's worst-hit areas.

Dr Bertschinger, pictured, is also a trustee for charity The African Children's Educational Trust, which sponsors students and funds new schools. Just over a month ago, she flew out to Ethiopia with Bob Geldof to attend the opening of a new £85,000 school.

Also recognised in Herts this year are Marc Jaffrey for services to music education, Anne Kirkham for housing work with the Department for Communities and Local Government, PC Kenneth Marsh for services to police and boxing in the London Borough of Haringey and Jean Pickering for services to athletics and the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund.

Among those listed in Essex are Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs deputy director Ian Hardie as well as John Marks, of Old Harlow, who has been honoured for his charity work.

l For an in-depth feature and interview with Dr Bertschinger, pick up a copy of the Observer next week (January 7).
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