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  • Angela Sharkey-McPherson

Ruth Sharkey wins international award for services to Herbal Medicine

2020 has been a year we would all like to forget - and it's only July! Yet in our house, and I think a lot of other's too, 2018-2019 were both pretty hair raising as well. In the 2nd half of 2018 Ruth & Dennis (Mum & Dad) moved and renovated to be closer to town, and I did the same thing through all of 2019, utter madness!

Before all this happened however, in June 2018 I nominated Mum for the inaugural Christopher Hedley Memorial Award established by the premier British association the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, for any herbalist anywhere in the world for their significant contribution to herbal medicine through practice, education, community work, research or environmental work.

That year, it was awarded to another well-deserving herbalist in America. They had suggested I renominate again in 2019, but with all the moving and renovation, fair to say it didn't happen! Of course Mum never knew anything about it and the year rolled on relentlessly.

You can imagine my surprise when I received an email in September to let me know Ruth had been presented with the 2nd annual award. They had held her nomination over due to the sheer volume of quality nominations from around the world, and had given it to Ruth due to the massive contribution and sacrifices she had made to the to herbal and Australian natural therapies industry over her 20+ years in practice.

Not only was it a massive shock to me (and Ruth when I showed her the email - she had no idea of what it was about and almost deleted the email - thinking it was a scam - as I was showing it to her!) but more importantly it was a huge acknowledgement of her contribution and sacrifices to and for the industry.

Why has it taken so long to let you all know? I think the challenges of 2020 can attest to that. We here in Tassie have been busy catching up in the years before, and are now catching our breath enough to share. I'm incredibly proud to be her daughter and to be carrying on the work she pioneered, and now share with Australia the international acknowledgement of her service.

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