03 July 2020

A KENT NURSE has won a nationwide competition by a charity looking to recognise special people in communities up and down the UK.

Wendy-Ling Relph (52) was selected by the Oral Health Foundation as part of Nominate a Smile – the charity’s search for people who go the extra mile to put a smile on somebody’s face.

Wendy (pictured right) was chosen for her accomplishments as part of East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust, one of the largest hospital trusts in England.

As Matron for Nutrition & Quality Improvement, Wendy has been with the hospital for the best part of 15 years, making sure patients are well nourished to help them recover more quickly.

Wendy was nominated by her co-worker Zoe Holt.

Zoe said: “Wendy is a wonderfully brilliant member of the team. She works so hard looking after the nutrition of our poorly patients across three hospital sites, along with a team of dietitians and the nutrition team.

“Wendy works tirelessly and always goes above and beyond for the patients she meets. Through all of this, she has done it with a full beautiful bright smile.”

Nominate A Smile was organised by the Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month – a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy smile.

As one of five national winners, Wendy has received a Phillips Sonicare electric toothbrush.

For Wendy, having a healthy smile and sharing it is really important. When asked why she thinks smiling is so important Wendy said: “In many ways it’s crucial, smiling is really important. If your smile isn’t healthy then you won’t feel like smiling and you’ll hide it.

“It’s a real difficulty in hospitals and healthcare at the moment, as well as on public transport, as we’ve got to wear masks. The impact of the masks is that you can’t see people smiling so easily.

“You can try and smile with your eyes, but it isn’t the same. It makes you realise how much a smile means.”

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation was delighted to be able to honour Wendy with the award.

Dr Carter said: “In recent months, we’ve seen just how amazing our NHS and the people that work for it are.  Wendy is not just a fantastic care giver but, as Zoe has explained, she’s also a fantastic co-worker and friend.

“Wendy is thoroughly deserving of this award and we encourage her to keeping on sharing her smile while helping patients to help achieve a healthy mouth and better quality of life.”

“While no prize can truly repay Wendy for her all hard work and enthusiasm over the last few months and beyond we do hope she enjoys the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush we’re sending her along with a small thank you card.”

For more information about National Smile Month visit www.smilemonth.org.

The Oral Health Foundation also operates a Dental Helpline for anyone looking for dental advice and guidance.  It is open Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm and can be reached on 01788 539780 or via emailing [email protected].