May I, albeit belatedly, use your letters page to thank all the people who wrote to me following my inclusion in the new year honours list.

Like many public servants I have great misgivings about the honours system, but my experience since January has taught me a great deal and caused me to reflect again.

For example, I had not realised that the inclusion of an unexpected name in the list - a woman who has spent 20 years chipping quietly away at unhelpful boundaries affecting unfashionable client groups - symbolises, and therefore gives pleasure and acknowledgement to, the effort and style of working of many others.

Similarly, for those who knew of my Parkinson's disease, it recognised the challenge all people with illness face at work, in the health service particularly, as we are working close to our own futures.

The second lesson I have learned is the pleasure we could bring if we more often put in writing the positive things we feel about each other's work. Why do we need the prompt of an event like this, retirement, or, even worse, for the person to die, to write?

Wouldn't it be a better working world if we all tried to write even one letter a year to someone who has had a positive impact on us? I am determined to try; will others join me?

Liz Wolstenholme


West Yorkshire