TV favourite Sophie Ward has become patron of a Redditch nursing charity following her own experiences of the profession in both her personal and working life.

The Holby City actress has taken on the role with Redditch-based Cavell Nurses' Trust, which supports nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in ill health or financial need.

The charity is named after First World War nursing heroine Edith Cavell who was executed in 1915 for helping 200 Allied soldiers to escape from German-occupied Belgium.

In her first role as patron, Ms Ward read a moving tribute to Cavell during a wreath-laying ceremony at her statue in St Martin's Place, London, to mark the 98th anniversary of her death.

The actress, whose roles have included that of Sophia Byrne in Holby City and Dr Helen Trent in Heartbeat, was at the bedside of her father when he died last year after a long illness.

She said: "For the last year of his life, my father required the care of many nurses, at home and in hospitals.

"I saw what an enormous difference their skill and their compassion can make and how challenging is the work."

Ms Ward said she was "immensely impressed" with the work of the local charity.

She added: "Nurses need our support. If we want to raise the standards of the profession, we have to honour nurses and respect their work.

"The trust is part of that support network and it is one of the ways that we can help give something back to nurses.”