West Mersea nurse awarded MBE for charity work with Catherine Bullen Foundation

Linda Bullen on a medical outreach trip in the bush treating an ankle injury sustained by a San Bush

Linda Bullen on a medical outreach trip in the bush treating an ankle injury sustained by a San Bushman lady. Omaheke region, Namibia. - Credit: Archant

A nurse from West Mersea has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her charity work in Africa.

Linda Bullen volunteering in the Catherine Bullen Primary Healthcare Clinic at Oshivelo in Namibia.

Linda Bullen volunteering in the Catherine Bullen Primary Healthcare Clinic at Oshivelo in Namibia. This clinic was built by the Namibian government and named after Roger and Linda Bullens daughter Catherine, a fifth year medical student, aged 22 yrs, who died suddenly in Namibia - Credit: Archant

Linda Bullen has been given the title “for services to relieve poverty, sickness, distress and the preservation of health in rural Namibia”.

Mrs Bullen, along with her husband Roger, run the Catherine Bullen Foundation which is based on the island.

The charity began as a memorial fund set up in August 2002 after the sudden death of one of the couple’s daughters Catherine, a fifth-year medical student aged just 22, while on safari in Namibia.

It became a foundation in 2005, and runs a series of projects in remote areas of Namibia including providing clean water, setting up health care posts and providing ambulances, and providing school facilities.


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Mrs Bullen, a semi-retired Colchester General Hospital nurse, helps out in the clinics during the couple’s biannual visit to the country.

The former sister-in-charge, 66, said: “I am absolutely thrilled, and it is totally unexpected.

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“I got the call as I as driving and initially I thought it was for Roger. It is a joint effort and if we could split it we would.

“But I am so honoured and pleased on behalf of everybody who has worked with us for the last ten years. It’s a personal thing for me which is wonderful, but it’s also real recognition for the charity.

“Catherine will be somewhere beaming down on us, and that is why it is such a strange feeling.

“What we would dearly love is for her to be here, but if she was all this good work would not have happened – it’s a double-edged thing.”

Mr Bullen added: “I’m very proud of what Linda has achieved in Namibia, she is right at the coal face in the clinic and outside of the comfort zone.

“It is very rewarding to see.

“I am so pleased the honour has gone to her because although I do a lot for the foundation when we go out there I do what I can practically but she is really thinking on her feet and helping people.”

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