Professor Greta Westwood: “I am inspired by brilliant nurses and midwives. I work hard for them every day.”

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Greta Westwood CBE

The classic fashion house Brora has done a fabulous shoot and portrait piece with Florence Nightingale Foundation’s CEO Professor Greta Westwood CBE. And our wonderful friends at Brora have kindly shared the article with Team Florence…

Greta, a Registered Nurse of 39 years, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the nursing and midwifery charity, the Florence Nightingale Foundation. She has four grown-up daughters and lives in Hampshire with her husband Roger and dog Alfie. In 2017, she joined the charity and became the CEO in September 2019.

At the start of the pandemic, Greta returned to her local NHS while also trying to fundraise and direct the work of the Foundation. She returned once again in January 2021 to support the Covid-19 vaccination programme. Greta is a keen runner and sailor. She was awarded a CBE for Services to Nursing and Midwifery in 2021.

How would you describe your style?
My best style is elegant, colourful, and timeless.

What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe?
A beautiful investment and timeless piece: a colourful floral, embroidered fabric dress coat. Just longing for the next occasion to wear it!

What do you do for work and why is it important to you?
A nurse, leading this nursing and midwifery charity. I am so proud. The Foundation has been supporting the nursing and midwifery professions across the UK for 88 years. Since the pandemic, the public is now more aware of the extraordinary effort and sacrifice nurses and midwives make every day. At the start of the pandemic, Nightingale Frontline® was launched to provide an online support service for nurses and midwives as they battled the unprecedented demands of their work. To date, we have supported over 3,000 nurses and midwives from across health, social care, and the voluntary sector. I am so grateful to Brora for the donations from the sale of the gorgeous liberty fabric Brora face masks to help our work. With continued fundraising we can help more nurses and midwives to continue to maintain courage and lead beyond the pandemic. See FNF’s Support page for more details. It is important to me that we continue to honour Florence Nightingale’s legacy today.

Greta Westwood CBE and Florence Nightingale statue

How does thinking about sustainability and transparency in fashion make a difference to where you buy clothes or how you live your life?
I don’t buy mass-produced clothing and buy clothes that will last, selecting quality and style. I am still wearing work suits I bought over 10 years ago. I’m sometimes seen in charity shops for that high-end investment item! I never throw my clothes away but donate them to charity shops so that someone else may love them. When I have time, I make my own clothes; not made much in the last two years though!

Where do you go to get inspired?
I am inspired by brilliant nurses and midwives who want to be the best they can be. I work hard every day for them.

What is your favourite Brora piece?
A coral red cropped-sleeve, V-necked cardigan – my first Brora piece and a present from my husband about 20 years ago. It lived on our boat which sadly went up in flames six weeks ago. However, by chance, I brought the cardigan home the day before. I think I shall now call it my “flame red” cardigan!

Greta Westwood CBE

Where in the world is your favourite place to be, where you feel your happiest?
I am happy running… anywhere. The Hampshire countryside, the south coast, London streets. I just love to be outside with my thoughts very early in the morning, whilst everyone else sleeps.


If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Enjoy your life, don’t waste it living someone else’s life… Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” (Steve Jobs, 2005).  I love these words.

What are you looking forward to in your life now?
Exploring new places and having fun adventures in our new boat.

See Brora’s portrait of Greta in full on their website