A County Durham practice nurse has been treated to a trip she will never forget after she was named an NHS Champion by her local MP.

Joanne (Jo) Jones, of Newton Aycliffe with her husband, Neville Jones, were whisked away to London for a day alongside other NHS Champions on July 4 to celebrate their hard work as the service marks its 75th anniversary.

Alongside working as a GP practice nurse, Jo runs a charity organisation called Community Spirit which includes life support and hospital travel costs for families with sick children as well as serving on Great Aycliffe Town Council.

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The Northern Echo: Jo inside Number 10.

Jo was then noticed by Sedgefield MP Paul Howell for her work in the service as well as in the local community and was given a tour of the House of Commons and Lords before ending the day inside 10 Downing Street.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Jo said she will have “memories to last forever” after the experience that saw her get a personal thanks from Health Secretary Steve Barclay.

She said: “We sat in the House of Commons whilst there was a debate going on which was ironically about NHS pensions.

“We then toured around and saw the procession of the chair for the House of Lords before we went and sat in there too. But just going around the building and seeing the architecture and all of the statues was amazing.”

Jo admitted she only found out about her nomination six days ago, as an official email from number ten Downing Street mistakenly went into her ‘spam’ email box.

The Northern Echo: Jo and her husband on the balcony just off the House of Commons.Jo and her husband on the balcony just off the House of Commons. (Image: JO JONES)

This meant she was not given much notice to prepare for the event, but said her work was “very accommodating” which meant she could go down to London.

Following her day inside Westminster, Jo had her photo taken outside Number 10 before she and all the other NHS Champions heard a speech from Health Secretary Steve Barclay, thanking them for their service.

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Jo then described what it is really like inside Number 10: “Going up the staircase there are pictures of every Prime Minister on the wall.

“Up the stairs, there were three rooms that partitioned off. One of them was the Margaret Thatcher room which has her name on the wall!”

MP for Sedgefield, Paul Howell, said he was "delighted" to nominate Jo and have her journey to London for the special day.

He said: “Jo is a representative of so many NHS employees in my constituency who have done and continue to do such amazing work. It is my privilege to help the Government show its recognition of them and the NHS as a whole on its 75th anniversary.

“I was delighted to nominate Jo as an NHS Champion and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Jo and Nev on their visit to Westminster. I hope that they had a wonderful day of celebration too.”