The Best of Benenden

Benenden has proudly celebrated the commitment of its staff over many years with various awards, trophies and fellowships. The first photographs of a formal ceremony to honour the caring and dedication of staff started around 1950 with Dr Houghton’s Annual Prizegiving.

Dr Lionel Houghton MA MD MRCS LRCP

Many years ago a young medical student cycling the Weald of Kent paused when he reached the National Sanatorium at Benenden. He thought of the wonderful work being done there for patients suffering from tuberculosis and decided to become a Chest Physician himself. The student was Lionel Houghton, who achieved his aim and in doing so brought help and inspiration to many thousands of patients and to his hospital colleagues.

Branch Members wanted to honour Dr Houghton’s enormous work as Chest Physician to the Society from 1951 until his death in 1973 and made him a handsome donation. It was his wish however, that the presentation be used as a prize fund for nursing staff at Benenden. An annual ceremony to honour the achievements of staff began and continues today.

The 1st Houghton Nurse of the Year Award was presented to Nurse Elizabeth Butler on 2 July 1960 by Dr Houghton himself. The award  was presented annually until 1992.

Dr Lional Houghton presenting the 1st Nurse of the Year to Nurse Elizabeth Butler 1960

Lord Plant of Benenden

Lord Cyril Plant gave the Society exceptional service.

  • Member of the Committee of Management 1945-1975
  • Chairman 1945-1954
  • Chairman 1957-1975

Awarded an OBE in 1965 for his services to the Society and made a Life Peer after 15 years as General Secretary.

Lord Plant’s great legacy lives on today. Following his death, The Lord Plant Travelling Fellowship was established, allowing staff the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world to develop personally and bring about improvements in care for our members.

The first recipient of Travelleing Fellowship was Barbara Grey in 1988. The award was presented by Lord Plant’s daughter, Mrs Jenny Pilbeam who continues to present the award annually, with the most recent going to Jenny Bewsey and Sarah Middleton, Healthcare Supports Workers in Outpatients and Paul Collier Radiographer.

(Photograph of Paul Collier to follow)

The Best of Benenden

Life moves on and the Annual Prizegiving Ceremony had a much needed facelift in 2015. The event was moved off site and renamed The Best of Benenden with the second annual event taking place on 22 September 2016.

160 members of staff gathered to celebrate the success and dedication of colleagues. Jane Abbott, Hospital Director presented long service awards, with further staff nominated awards including Innovation, Best Support Service and Leadership.



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