Royal College gives top award to Spalding's Anita Cooper
A health professional who lives in Spalding is being recognised for her "outstanding contribution" to occupational therapy.
Anita Cooper (48) is the clinical lead for Therapies and Rehabilitation Medicine with United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Anita, who helped devise a completely new degree/apprenticeship for occupational therapy and physiotherapy, will receive a Merit Award from The Royal College of Occupational Therapists.
She said: "I am absolutely thrilled.
"I am over the moon. It's one of the biggest achievements you can have in the profession and to be awarded this by the professional body is an absolute honour."
Anita has chaired a national group to devise the degree/apprenticeships that will benefit students, hospitals and health trusts.
The degree/apprenticeship will see participants engaged in combined practice-based learning and university study.
Pay rewards should prove attractive to students who might otherwise fear running up college debts and, it is hoped, the system will address national shortages of occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
For a county like Lincolnshire - which tends to suffer when there are shortages of qualified professionals - Anita explains there is a hope that we can "grow our own professionals".
Anita says people with family ties and existing links to the county are more likely to stay in Lincolnshire.
Born in Gosberton Risegate, Anita lives in Spalding with husband Ian.
She was educated at Spalding High School and St Andrew's School of Occupational Therapy, Northampton, later gaining a master's degree with the University of Derby.
Anita qualified in 1991 and worked at Peterborough District Hospital before switching to Boston's Pilgrim Hospital in 1993.
She still has an office at Pilgrim but works at hospitals around the county.
Anita will receive her award at an autumn ceremony in London.