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The Queen’s Nursing Institute has lost one of its longest-serving and most dedicated supporters with the sudden death of Maureen Acland OBE on 9 August 2011.
Mrs Acland was Chair of the Institute for 24 years, and became a Vice President on stepping down from that role in 2003. As a Vice President, she continued to attend meetings of the Council and committees of the Institute, and to take an active part in the work of the charity. Mrs Acland was very proud that she was, for many years, the only living recipient of the Institute’s highest award, its Gold Badge, which is given for ‘conspicuous and distinguished service rendered to the Institute’.
QNI Chair Rosalynde Lowe CBE said: ‘The whole Council of the QNI is shocked and immensely saddened by the sudden death of Mo Acland. She has been the backbone of the QNI for decades, leading the organisation through some very challenging times and setting us on the path to our current period of growth and development. Mo attended almost every meeting of the Council, and her wisdom and memory were invaluable to those of us who followed her.’
Another Vice President and former Chair of the Institute, Dr June Crown CBE, also speaks of the ‘wonderful legacy’ that Mrs Acland leaves at the QNI. ‘Mo devoted her life to others’, Dr Crown said. ‘Her warmth and generosity came through every contact I had with her, and I never heard her say an unkind word – though she could be forthright when that was called for.’
QNI Vice Chair Michael Cooper remembers Mrs Acland fondly as the first person he met when he was introduced to the Institute eight years ago. ‘I valued her friendship very much’, he commented. ‘She made a huge contribution to the QNI over the years and we shall miss her.’
In recent weeks, Mrs Acland had made a special visit to the QNI to meet a family historian from Australia who was researching the story of her great aunt, Annie Peterkin, a former Superintendent of the Institute. She had also attended the most recent Council meeting on 3 August.
Maureen Acland's career started in the Foreign Office, and continued in the voluntary and charitable world. She was actively involved with the Queen’s Nursing Institute (24 years as chairman and nearly 10 years as Vice President); The Florence Nightingale Foundation ( 21 years as Chairman); The National Gardens Scheme (37 years); the Hertfordshire Nursing Trust (27 years); The Order of St. John and St. John Ambulance (Chaired the joint St. John/Red Cross Emergency Committee to organise and staff the reception hospital for walking wounded from Stansted and Luton during the first Gulf War); and the [Community and] District Nursing Association (16 years). She was also a trustee of several other charities including the Rosalind Paget Trust (the first Queen’s Nurse) and NurseAid.
Mrs Acland was also a Dame of the Order of St. John, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal Society of Arts.
Maureen Acland was Chair of the QNI between 1978 and 2003.