A NURSE who was made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List will be given the first class treatment when she picks up her award.
Matron Suzanne Lomax, who works at the Royal Bolton Hospital, her husband Tony and their two children, will enjoy a first-class ride to the capital and back on Friday thanks to Virgin Trains.
The offer came after Mr Lomax, aged 46, decided to upgrade their tickets to first class as a treat — but was told the upgrade would not be possible because they were travelling on a weekday.
But when a kindly customer relations worker found out the reason for their journey, he arranged for the family of four to travel first class to London and back for free.
Mrs Lomax, who will pick up her MBE for services to healthcare on Friday at Buckingham Palace, says it was the “icing on the cake”.
The mother-of-two, from Little Lever, and colleague Sharron Dempsey formed Supporting Hands in 1992, a charity which supports survivors of strokes and their families.
The group now runs as JIGSAW (Joint Initiative Group for Stroke Awareness and Wellbeing).
She was also involved in the opening of the first Acute Stroke Care Unit at the hospital, which went on to improve the survival rates for stroke victims in Bolton and their rehabilitation.
Mr Lomax said: “I couldn’t believe it when they offered to send us for free — but then only someone like Richard Branson would have a policy like that. The tickets are probably worth about £1,500, so it is a very humbling gesture and adds an extra special touch to the weekend.”
A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “Suzanne has given so much to her local community and is thoroughly deserving of her award. So we thought it only right that she and her family travel down to London in style ahead of what we hope will be a fantastic day.”