Radiographer lecturer receives MBE at Windsor Castle

Radiography senior lecturer Dr Claire Robinson beams with pride having received an MBE for services to forensic investigation.

She travelled to Windsor Castle with her parents last week where she was presented with her award by Princess Anne.

Dr Robinson is a Consultant Radiographer in Forensic Imaging at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, and senior lecturer at the University of Leicester, researching forensic imaging methods and teaching on the new BSc in Radiography programme which launched in September.

“It was such a wonderful day, I felt nervous beforehand but extremely proud,” she said.

“The Princess Royal asked me some detailed questions about my work including the post-mortem imaging service and knew of my involvement which made the moment feel very personal and special.”

Claire joined around 65 other recipients on Tuesday 16 February for the investiture service at Windsor Castle who picked up a mixture of awards as part of the King’s Birthday Honours announced last year.

She added: “While I waited in one of the state rooms I got chatting to a staff member and he asked about my work and where I’d travelled from so I told him, Leicester. He immediately mentioned Richard III and I was able to tell him that I’d scanned his remains. He took me into another room and showed me the portrait of Richard III in Windsor Castle and that felt so incredibly special.”

“It really is the proudest moment of my career to receive an MBE and I feel so honoured to have been nominated for the award by so many of my peers. Its all been very humbling.  

I’ll never forget my day at Windsor Castle, it was very special. My parents are immensely proud of me so it was wonderful to be able to take them with me to enjoy the day. They were literally six feet away as I received my investiture so could see absolutely everything.”  

Claire has 22 years’ experience in radiography and is one of the key players in the development of post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) scan services in Leicester and the UK, which avoids the need for autopsy for thousands of people each year. 

This system proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic because autopsy had safety concerns. PMCT has now become the primary tool for HM Coroner investigations locally and has been introduced elsewhere thanks to the training she has helped to provide.

PMCT has also helped in the identification of victims in mass fatalities and is an integral part of the UK’s disaster response planning, which has seen Claire assist with investigations into the Shoreham Air Show crash (2015), Manchester Arena bombing and Grenfell tower fire, both in 2017. Internationally, she also assisted the MH17 investigation in 2014. 

Not only that, but her work also included leading a team of radiographers whilst also working towards and achieving a PhD, during the COVID pandemic, having been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Fellowship.

Cathy Lea, deputy head of operations and Claire’s manager at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: "We do say, working in the NHS, that no-one is indispensable. This is largely true, but there are a small number of key individuals who you meet who make real difference. Claire is one of those people."

Speaking shortly after she learned of her award, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “Recognition with an award by His Majesty The King is the highest accolade possible and, on behalf of us all, we congratulate Dr Robinson.

“At Leicester, we take pride in our community being Citizens of Change, forming a powerful network that delivers real world benefits in the locality, nationally and internationally. Dr Robinson and her colleagues exemplify this and their pioneering work has had global ramifications.”