Nurse to receive honours for aid in Ebola crisis

Lt Col Alison McCourt as Commanding Officer of the Kerry Town Treatment Unit between October 2014 and May 2015 Credit: British Army

Over a year on from the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic, four British soldiers who risked their lives helping victims of the deadly disease in Sierra Leone will receive medals at a ceremony in Downing Street.

Among them will be 45-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt from Llandrindod Wells, who is to receive the Order of the British Empire for her services as a nurse.

The mother-of-two was deployed in October last year, serving as Commanding Officer of the Kerry Town Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone until her return to the UK in May.

"It was a scary operation, particularly at the very beginning, and not without considerable risk but incredibly rewarding. The people of Sierra Leone were so welcoming to us and so receptive and I really feel that we’ve contributed to setting that country on the road to recovery."

Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt
Lt Col McCourt talks to Minister for Armed Forces Mark Francois at a medical exercise Credit: PA Wire

The citation for Lt Col McCourt's OBE commended her work preparing the clinic, and adding a personal touch to her work. It stated:

"She has been in the vanguard of every development task. Her presence and personal touch have been everywhere. No problem has been too small to overlook, no person too insignificant to receive her full attention and the patients admitted have been received with utter professionalism and compassion instilled in the unit by McCourt. Her contribution to the Ebola war has been of the highest order and she thoroughly deserves public recognition."

Also receiving medals at the ceremony today are Brigadier Stephen McMahon MBE, who will receive a CBE, and Staff Sergeant Adam Marshall will receive an MBE, both of whom also provided pivotal support in Sierra Leone.

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people, and was declared an international health emergency in August last year.