Pioneering Trust surgeon wins Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Dame Averil Mansfield CBE has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards.
Averil, who was presented with the award at a star-studded ceremony this week, worked at St Mary’s Hospital as a vascular surgeon from 1982 to 2022 and became the first female professor of surgery in the UK in 1993. She was appointed a CBE in 1999 for services to surgery and women in medicine and was awarded a damehood King's Birthday Honours earlier this year for services to surgery and to equality in medicine.
The annual Pride of Britain Awards 'celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place' and were hosted by Carol Vorderman and Ashley Banjo, with Emeli Sandé, Dame Shirley Bassey presenting the award to Averil. All the winners, including Averil, were nominated by the public and chosen by the awards judging panel.
Averil was born in Blackpool to working class parents and her love of science was ignited by the chemistry experiments she would carry out in her kitchen as a child. She was the first in her family to pursue any kind of higher education and it’s this determination that helped her make such an outstanding contribution to healthcare, academia and equality both locally and nationally.
Averil has held leading roles as president of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, the Vascular Surgical Society and the British Medical Association, as vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons and chair of Council of The Stroke Association. In addition, she was also founding chair of Women in Surgical Training, a hugely successful networking group with the mantra, ‘lift as you climb’. Averil continues to inspire students and young doctors by travelling around the UK to speak to them about their future careers.
Averil said: "I was completely taken by surprise when I learned that I was to receive this award. I had the good fortune to spend my working life doing something I loved and I saw it as a privilege to care for patients and to teach and train the young doctors and surgeons. That was my reward but I am delighted to have received this recognition."
Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "Huge congratulations to Averil on this well deserved and prestigious award. Averil has had an extraordinary career, not least becoming the first female professor of surgery in the UK. I'm incredibly proud that this happened at St Mary's Hospital and honoured that she spent so much of her career working with us.
"Averil has always been a role model of our values, being kind, collaborative, aspirational and expert. I know colleagues across the Trust, the surgeons for whom she has been an inspiration and her many patients will join me in thanking her for her significant contributions to our the health of our local community and her national and international influence."
Watch a video we filmed with Averil to mark the NHS' 75th anniversary earlier this year.