A nursing leader from Cheshire has been awarded an MBE by HM Queen Elizabeth II at a recent ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Avril Devaney, director of nursing, therapies and patient partnership at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), was named in the New Year’s Honours List for services to nursing of people with mental health problems.

Avril said: “We had an amazing day at the palace. Everyone was helpful and kind and I felt very privileged to stand before the Queen. Working in mental health services has always been much more than a job to me and it was a lovely surprise to have my contribution recognised in this way. I look forward to continuing to work in mental health services in Cheshire and Wirral.”

Accolades

This is the latest in a long line of accolades for Avril, who was first recognised in November 1999 when she received The Queen’s Nursing Institute Award for Innovation after establishing a mental health nursing service in police custody suites.

She is well known for addressing the harm caused by smoking to people with mental health conditions, and led the work to make CWP the first smoke-free mental health trust in England. She has also led its Challenging Stigma campaign since 2004.

Related: Chester nurse secures royal approval

Legacy

Passionate about person-centred care and reducing health inequalities, Avril has been the trust’s link with mental health services at Kisiizi Hospital in Uganda since 2010, and was a founder of the Jamie Devaney Memorial Fund to support mental health services in Uganda and create a lasting legacy for her son Jamie, who died aged four following a short illness during a family holiday and fundraising trip there.

She received an honorary MA in 2014 from the University of Chester in recognition of her outstanding contribution to healthcare. In 2015 Avril was also recognised as a Nursing Times leader.

CWP chairman David Eva said: “We’re all so proud of Avril for being recognised with an MBE, and indeed for her many achievements throughout her career. Avril’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that people who use our service receive the highest possible care continues to be a source of inspiration for everyone involved with CWP.”