An inspirational Weymouth woman who came through a traumatic assault to academic and professional success is in the running for an award for her groundbreaking work in the field of diversity.

Samantha Greatrex has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards, in the LGBT section, for her work in ensuring equality and fair treatment for transgender patients in the NHS.

In her work as diversity lead at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Samantha - who often returns to Weymouth to visit family - has introduced transgender postoperative training for staff at the island's healthcare services - the first training of its kind in the country - to ensure that transgender patients don't suffer any of the specific negative repercussions that operations can cause them. "I'm proud that we were the first hospital in the country [to do this]," she told the Echo. "It's about changing people's mindsets."

In just eight months at the hospital, Samantha has already achieved gender-neutral toilets, and ensured all official forms offer the neutral Mx address as an option alongside Mr and Mrs.

She admitted to being 'very proud' of her nomination - which was made by anonymous parties. "I was delighted to be nominated - it shows that people are taking me seriously. It celebrates the work that everyone has been doing," she said.

"Sometimes you don't realise that what you're doing is making a difference"

Samantha, 43, grew up in Wyke Regis and attended All Saints school, and later Wey Valley school, where, she says, she was 'very happy'.

She joined Hampshire Constabulary in 1994, and was posted to the Isle of Wight. "They asked me where I wanted to go, and I said 'anywhere but the Isle of Wight!'," she recalled. "And ironically, that's where I ended up."

After suffering a traumatic assault sustained while carrying out her duties, she took medical retirement from the police in 2002. However, refusing to let the grass grow under her feet, she undertook first a law degree, then a Master's in the same subject, at the University of Portsmouth.

"It wasn't as a career change, but in order to make a difference," she explained. "I come from a normal working class background, and I never excelled academically at school. I learned that you have to put yourself out there."

As a gay woman, she decided to use her legal expertise to help other LGBT people, leading her to her current role.

"Many people in the LGBT community are very isolated, and when it comes to healthcare, they don't go to hospital until they're in crisis, because they're worried about the treatment they'll receive," she explained.

She has also been a magistrate in both family and adult courts, and noted that her background gave her a different insight into cases than that of most of her fellow magistrates. "It redresses the balance a bit," she said.

Now Samantha is hoping that her nomination will boost the profile of her work and give her a platform to express her views.

"The nomination is absolutely heartwarming," she said. "It's a phenomenal feeling. Even if I don't get shortlisted, I will still feel honoured."