A nurse who works at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford is one of just four NHS faces chosen for a major campaign by Marks and Spencer, to thank their customers for supporting NHS charities.

Ray Atienza-Hawkes works at the Ambulatory Assessment Unit looking after mostly older patients with complex conditions.

He was put forward for the campaign by staff at Oxford Hospitals Charity, who have worked closely with him over many years on projects to improve the hospital environment for patients and staff.

Sarah Vaccari from Oxford Hospitals Charity explains:  ‘We work with some pretty extraordinary NHS staff in our hospitals, and never more so than in the recent intense months of 2020.

‘So when we were asked to nominate a member of staff to represent our hospitals in a national campaign with Marks and Spencer, it was a tall order to narrow down all the incredible names that came to mind and settle on just one person.

‘But one smiling face kept coming to mind, and we decided that Ray Atienza-Hawkes – who works as a Charge Nurse at the John Radcliffe Hospital -  embodied the caring and professional ethos of Oxford University Hospitals.

‘Our charity has worked with Ray a lot over the years, as he is a champion for staff and patients, always thinking of how he can make things that bit better for the teams he works with and his patients in the Ambulatory Assessment Unit.

‘During covid, Ray’s compassion has come to the fore, as his team has had to cope with some extremely challenging times.

‘Ray asked Oxford Hospitals Charity to support the team by providing a quiet room for staff during a particularly difficult period. The charity reacted quickly to help, using funding from the national NHS Charities Together appeal to create a calm and tranquil space for staff.

‘So when NHS Charities Together asked us to nominate someone who could thank the public for their support during the covid crisis, we thought Ray would be ideal.’

Ray was photographed outside of the John Radcliffe on his day off, and gave an interview about his experiences working through the past months.

He explained: ‘I am not used to being in the lime light, so the experience was a little surreal but good fun. I am truly grateful to the incredible support we have had and know first-hand what a difference it has made to both NHS staff here and the patients we look after –so it was good to have the chance to say thank you publically.

‘We’ve had some truly difficult times in recent months, so it was nice to be recognised in this way, though I am sure the team I work with are going to pull my leg a bit.’

‘I haven’t told my mum yet, that my photograph will be in stores across the UK. She lives in the Philippines, but knows Marks and Spencer well, so it’s going to be a real surprise for her, she will be thrilled I think.

Chief Nursing Officer, Sam Foster added: ‘Ray is a well-known nurse leader to all of us at our John Radcliffe Hospital - he epitomises our value of compassionate excellence in the manner that he delivers care to both our patients and our staff.

‘He also has a unique presence of humility and leadership that fills the room, giving all around him the sense that virtual arms are around the patients, staff and their families - we are all extremely proud that Ray is one of the Oxford University Hospitals team and that he has been chosen to represent us and his profession during this time.’

NHS Charities Together has had huge support from across the UK, and is most known for its super-supporter, 100 year old Captain Tom, now Sir Captain Tom.

The organisation has also had great support from many large national companies, including Marks and Spencer, whose customers have donated over £6 million to the national appeal by purchasing rainbow themed products.

Funding from NHS Charities Together is being shared with hundreds of local NHS Charities across the UK, including Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Oxford Hospitals Charity supports the wards and departments across the John Radcliffe, Churchill, Horton General, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Oxford Children’s Hospital.

To find out more about how Oxford Hospitals Charity makes a difference across the wards and departments of your local hospitals, get in touch with the team via the methods below. 

Tel: 01865 743 444

Email: [email protected] 


Oxford Hospitals Charity (registered charity no 1175809) is the official charity supporting Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. www.hospitalcharity.co.uk