A MATURE student who put her studies on hold to help others during the height of the coronavirus pandemic has won a prestigious award.

Tracey Torrie, 51, was put forward for the Dora Roylance Memorial Prize by her tutors at the Anglia Ruskin University.

Tracey, who lives in Great Leighs, temporarily gave up her studies and returned to her previous job of school nurse when Covid-19 hit the UK in March.

She said: "I helped people struggling at home during lockdown with all sorts of issues such as emotional or financial difficulties.

"I would provide a listening ear and try and support and encourage them, attempt to enlist support from more specialist services such as social care where needed and signpost them to other voluntary and mandated agencies, which at times included local foodbanks.

"In some cases my work involved just reassuring parents that they were doing the best for their children as it was a stressful time for them."

Tracey, who first qualified as a nurse 30 years ago, says she was able to use some of the skills learnt on her current Public Health Nursing course when returning to her old role.

She was specifically enlisted to help children's charity Barnardo's and the Essex Child and Family and Wellbeing Service.

The service's managing director Richard Comerford said: "It is incredible news that Tracey has been awarded the Dora Roylance prize.

“This is absolutely brilliant. I’m so pleased for her and so proud."

The Dora Roylance prize is run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute and aims to highlight academic students going above and beyond while studying.