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Alumna awarded OBE in Queen’s 2021 Honours List

Date Posted: Wednesday 28 July 2021

Congratulations to alumna, Consultant Nephrologist and General Physician Dr Emma Vaux (Chaucer Pilgrims, 1982) who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2021 Honours List for her services to medical education.

After leaving Ashford School at the end of Year 11, Emma studied Medicine at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School (University of London). She has been a consultant in nephrology and general medicine for 18 years, and still works in frontline medicine at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. She is Clinical Lead of the Berkshire Kidney Unit, Clinical Director of Integrated Medicine, and Medical Associate Director for Patient Safety at her trust.

Alongside this, Emma has developed her portfolio career in medical education, patient safety, service improvement and clinical management. She is immediate past Senior Censor and Vice President for education & training at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). She is also RCP Chief Examiner and part of RCP Education clinical faculty. She is co-Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Joint Academy Training Forum. Emma is a Generation Q Fellow with The Health Foundation and a founding Q member. She is a member of the HEE Sustainability in Quality Improvement Education Advisory Group.

We spoke to Emma about her memories of her time at Ashford School:

“Thinking back on my 10 years at Ashford, what sprung to mind first was the daily train journeys from Bearsted from the age of 6, with my older sister Deborah aged 8. On the return journey we were always armed with fruit salads for 1p from the station shop; and a Mars Bar for 3p if we were feeling flush. Deborah and I went on the Harry Potter train at  Universal in 2016 and we both sat in what was an identical train carriage. A real sense of deja vu! The boys from Swadelands School liked to tease and turned my sister’s velour hat green by pouring coca cola over it!

Spotty dick and chocolate semolina along with milk and buns for break were the highlights of the day – yes, I was the one that actually liked all that stuff. My turn at a musical as one of the brothers in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was a vivid, and mortifying memory, of holding a garden fork with corks at the end of each prong because of an assessed health and safety risk to the orchestra. I even made it to a 1980 School Tie Pilgrims recount of sporting achievements, beaten by Pippa Harrison if I recall.

Looking at classroom lists and the immediate recall of faces to names is rather evocative of friendship groups. The names of teachers that inspired over the years have come tumbling into my memory, and those I would highlight are Mr Stockwell, Mrs Bird, Miss Barlow, Mrs Finucane, Miss Hoad, Miss Hollist and never forgetting the terror of Miss Bratby and the resounding call of ‘Vaux – come here’ from down the corridor!

Ashford gave me the foundation to grow and learn, have the confidence to pursue a challenging yet absorbing career and help develop my values of integrity, authenticity and thoughtfulness. I love what I do!”