A Carmarthenshire woman has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her lifetime’s service to the NHS.

Mrs Margaret Rees Hughes, of Waterloo Road, Penygroes, was presented with her award by the HM Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed Miss Sara Edwards at a ceremony in Parc Myrddin, Carmarthen.

The honour is for making an exceptional personal lifetime contribution to the National Health Service in Wales over a period of 49 years.

Mrs Hughes started her career in the NHS as a pre nursing student straight from school. She did her SRN training from 1968-71 and held a ward sister’s post for 10 years and then several other posts before being appointed director of nursing for Morriston Hospital in the early 1990s. She held the post for 12 years including six months as interim chief executive.

Mrs Hughes retired from Morriston in 2005 and joined Carmarthenshire Local Health Board as nurse non-officer and following reorganisation in 2009 was appointed for eight years as independent member for community to Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Despite retiring last March, Mrs Hughes is still active in her local community as organist in Penygroes Independent Chapel, a member of Penygroes GP Patient Participation Group, a committee member of the Historical Society in Penygroes and a member of the Healthy Allsorts group.

Following the ceremony Mrs Hughes, who has two children and four grandchildren, said: “My focus has always been on patients, patient care, and families and relatives.

“I’ve enjoyed my career and was delighted to receive the BEM. I did not expect it! It is recognition for all the staff who worked with me, and for my family who have supported me.”

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