GOSH Play Specialist, Lizzie Penn, receives prestigious WellChild award

24 Aug 2022, 12:47 p.m.

A photo of Lizzie Penn, a Senior Play Specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in one the sensory play rooms. She is wearing the purple polo top, the uniform of the GOSH play team.

We're delighted to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Lizzie Penn, one of our Senior Play Specialists, who has just been named the national 2022 WellChild Award winner.

Lizzie was picked from hundreds of nominations from across the UK to win the category of Outstanding Professional. She will collect her award in person on September 8 in London.

Above and beyond for our patients and their families

Lizzie has improved the lives of thousands of children and their families during her 23 years at our hospital. She is renowned for going above and beyond for our patients, coming up with creative ways to prepare and amuse children and young people during their procedures. For one child to experience a virtual trip to the moon, she once transformed an intensive care unit into a spaceship!

Lizzie provides support to not only our patients but also their families. Kristel Burgess and her sons, who both stayed at GOSH during the pandemic when visitor restrictions made life challenging for our patients, have a special place in their hearts for Lizzie.

Kristel went on to nominate Lizzie for a WellChild Award – an award she’s now won! She shares how Lizzie went the extra mile to give her son, Josh, a special birthday while he was in hospital:

Lizzie made Josh a cake, picked out special presents for him, and decorated his room while he was still asleep so when he woke up, he had the best surprise.

She was also my support system and saviour during tough times, always there with a friendly smile and a shoulder to cry on while dreaming up fun distractions for the children.

Kristel Burgess, a GOSH parent who nominated Lizzie Penn for a WellChild Award.

Supporting the next generation of Play Specialists

Lizzie is keen to share the immeasurable skill and knowledge she has developed over the past 23 years, as she helps guide and mentor new play specialists starting out in the role.

It’s important for these children that we help them find happiness and keep life as normal as possible even in the most difficult situations. It makes such a difference each time we can find the one thing which lights up a child’s eyes and makes them smile.

I want to thank Kristel and Josh for their kindness in nominating me for this WellChild Award which I’m sure will raise awareness of this important role.

Lizzie Penn, a Senior Play Specialist at GOSH who has just won a WellChild Award.

About the WellChild Awards

The Awards are run by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children and will be attended by the charity’s Patron, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. The Awards celebrate the resilience of children living with serious illnesses or complex conditions and honour the dedication of those individuals who go the extra mile to help these children and their families.

Read more about the WellChild Awards on their website.

Congratulations Lizzie! And a big thank you to the whole Play Team who make a positive difference to our patients and their families every day.

Follow the GOSH Play Team on Instagram.

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