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Charity’s director awarded an MBE honour

Nigel Scott, HVA trustee, reports: Photo of Nigel Scott

Marian Nicholson, the Director of the Herpes Viruses Association, has been honoured with Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in this year’s Birthday Honours List, “for services to people diagnosed with herpes and shingles.”

Marian has been running the HVA since 1995, almost thirty years. Before that, she was supporting the charity as a volunteer. During that time she has devoted thousands of hours in support of patients and the charity’s wider work. She has always gone well above and beyond the what anyone in a regular job would do.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the HVA owes its continuing existence, in no small part, to the diligence and enthusiasm of Marian.

“It’s an honour for the charity, not me.”

Marian was surprised to receive the award, “The night I came home from the HVA office and found the envelope waiting for me, I couldn’t sleep. The excitement kept bubbling up. It’s a wonderful endorsement of my efforts, of course. But I see it primarily as official and long overdue recognition of the importance of the HVA and the work it does to reassure and inform patients.”

“I requested a change to the citation for the MBE. Instead of services to people with herpes, I asked for ‘For services to people diagnosed with herpes and shingles.’ Three reasons for this: 1. We know that most people with herpes simplex don’t know they have it and so don’t need/ask for our help. 2. Mentioning shingles in the citation will get people thinking about the association of the two. And 3, it also gives the poor people who I meet at the Palace, all the officers in elegant uniforms and other recipients of awards, something to talk about if they fear my mentioning the word ‘sex’!”Photo of Marian Nicholson

Published 15 June 2024