THESE 13 nursing heroes staffed Ainsworth Smallpox Hospital in the 1950s after an epidemic of the deadly disease struck nearby Rochdale.

For nine weeks, these brave women volunteered to cut themselves off from the rest of the world to care for 103 patients at the site near Bolton.

The group were honoured before members of the Manchester Regional Hospital Board for their efforts.

Chairman of the organisation, Sir John Stopford, told them the board was very proud and grateful for their efforts, before presenting each woman with a book entitled “Florence Nightingale”.

Coming together from eight hospitals across the North West, the nurses braved the risk of infection to treat those infected.

Each one of their patients recovered, with the deadly disease claiming no fatalities at the unit.