Interview: Dr Jane Collins

Dr Jane Collins is the Chief Executive of Marie Curie and came to UEA to accept the honorary graduate position on behalf of the charity. The charity provides care and support to those living with family members who have a terminal illness.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to students?

Try and really think about what you want to do. Be willing to try some things and then find out they’re not quite right but keep making sure you’re still doing what you want to do in the long run.

Who inspires you… of course Marie Curie is going to be one of the figures?

Well the interesting thing, and I’m not just saying this because it’s easy, is when I was growing up I always wanted to be a doctor. Which I did become and my hero, heroine was Marie Curie so I had an absolute fascination with her from being quite a small child. I was very interested in science. And so running an organisation named after her is wonderful and I had the privilege a couple of years ago of meeting her granddaughter. She visited our hospice in Hampstead in London and, what a scientific family. They are certainly pioneering in terms of science.

What do you think the significance of a charity being made honorary graduate is?

It’s a bit unusual. We were really surprised but absolutely thrilled. And following MSF from last year, again that’s wonderful because it’s a great organisation.

It will mean a lot in our organisation, actually. The recognition, the fit if you like particularly with the school of Health Sciences and some of the things they’re interested in, because it covers health and social care. If you’re looking after people who are dying, social care is as important as health care. So it feels a good fit and it is an honour.

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Tony Allen