Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

NHS nurse and former ‘fastest woman in Africa’ to retire after almost five decades

A former international sprinter once described as the “fastest woman in Africa” is retiring after almost five decades as an NHS nurse.

Matron Rose Amankwaah, who represented Ghana at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, will retire at the end of this month after 49 years as an NHS nurse.

The theatre matron started working for the NHS in 1975, just three years after she ran in the 100m relay for Ghana at the Munich 1972 Olympics.

Matron Rose Amankwaah. Pic: PA
Image: Pic: PA

Mrs Amankwaah, known affectionately as Matron Rose while at work, has spent her whole nursing career at Central Middlesex Hospital in London.

She was initially given weekends off so she could continue her athletics training.

Mrs Amankwaah competed in a number of major competitions including the Africa Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

Last year she was given the NHS Silver Medal Award by England’s chief nurse, Dame Ruth May.

Mrs Amankwaah moved to England in 1974 aged 22 and shortly afterwards started training to be a nurse.

She was then employed by the hospital as a staff nurse and finished her career as theatre matron.

Read more from Sky News:
Ministers urge govt to increase defence spending
Woman who survived crossbow attack calls for tougher regulation
Abuse while I was pregnant was hateful and cruel, says Meghan

Rose Amankwaah meets then prime minister Tony Blair while working as a staff nurse. Pic: PA
Image: Mrs Amankwaah meets then prime minister Tony Blair while working as a staff nurse. Pic: PA

Meetings with royalty and politicians

During her time at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, the mother-of-four and grandmother-of-10 has met both royalty and senior politicians, with pictures showing Ms Amankwaah shaking hands with the King, the then-Prince of Wales, and former prime minister Tony Blair.

“I’m happy that I’m going to have some time with my family but I have been in this hospital all my life, so retirement feels like losing something – you’re part of the furniture and all of a sudden you are not going to be,” she said.

“But I’m so happy that I have achieved what I want to achieve.”

Retirement trip to Ghana

Her first trip in retirement will be to Ghana to visit her 87-year-old sister, with a number of other holidays in the pipeline.

She is still considering whether to stay on the nursing register and work in a bank role to provide supplementary cover when called on.

Her athletics accolades include a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay at the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand in 1974, representing Ghana in the same race at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and a gold medal in a 200m race in an Africa versus America athletics competition in 1973.

She also won a silver medal in the 100m at the Africa Games and was part of the Ghanaian team that won the 4x100m relay at the same competition.

Sky News Source