A SWINDON nurse is one of two inspirational women who will have GWR trains named after them in honour of their outstanding work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Liz Gallagher from Swindon has been a nurse for more than 40 years and was looking forward to retiring this year. But she put those plans on hold to lead Great Western Hospital's Intensive Care Unit throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Her son Hugh nominated her to be a Make a Difference Superstar and she burst into tears when surprised by co-workers, friends and family outside the hospital with the news that she had won.

Hugh said: “Normally you would wind down to retirement but she had to come in and work as hard she’s ever had to, alongside all the other nurses too, it’s honestly inspirational.”

Her husband John said: "She was going into work at 6.30am and not getting home until 7 at night, but even after that she was constantly answering questions on What’s App. Even on her days off, she was going in to see how the staff were.

“She’s very, very dedicated, but there’s a very dedicated team in the whole hospital.”

The stunned nurse said: “It’s been challenging, it’s been tough, but I’ve had a great team behind me, that’s what made the difference – the team have been fantastic."

Since the pandemic began, BBC Radio Wiltshire has been running its Make a Difference campaign to give listeners regular coronavirus updates and links up those who need help with those who can offer it.

In August, the station teamed up with Great Western Railway to find two Make a Difference Superstars from around the county who could have trains named after them.

Dozens of listeners got in touch to nominate someone and a panel whittled them down to Liz Gallagher and Naomi Best.

Naomi created a ‘community mask tree’ in Amesbury, where she hung face coverings for anyone who needed one. It went viral on social media, with 418 trees springing up all over the country.

Her daughter Rhiannon said the trees helped distribute more than 200,000 masks and raise £325,000 for charity.

She added that the project had been an ”absolutely amazing community effort” and her mum was an “inspiration”.

Friends and family told Naomi the good news live on-air.

Naomi said: “I’m so surprised and blown away, thank you so much. So many people have said it’s given them a real sense of purpose during this, it felt like they were doing something helpful, something supportive, to help fight the pandemic.”

GWR interim managing Director Matthew Golton said: “The GWR has a long and proud history of naming trains after Great Westerners – past and present heroes from across our network – and to that list now we can add the names of Liz Gallagher and Naomi Betts.

“It has been a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and learn more about those people who have helped to make such a huge difference in their communities during the pandemic.

“We were particularly overwhelmed by the stories of these two winners and I hope our train-naming ceremonies will serve as a fitting tribute to them.”

The nine local BBC radio stations in the GWR area are taking part in ‘Make a Difference Superstars’. Two people from each area will have trains named after them, meaning a total of 18 trains will be named after local lockdown heroes.

Stephanie Marshall, head of the BBC in the west and south west, said: “The pandemic may have been the worst of times for many of us, but it has brought out the best in so many people.

“Since lockdown began nearly two million listeners have contacted their BBC local radio station either looking for help, or in many cases offering it out, through the Make a Difference campaign.

“The stories of local heroism have helped put a smile on faces across the country and I’m incredibly proud that BBC Radio Wiltshire played a part in that.”