She was awarded the MBE in the 1997 New Year Honours list for services to nursing and health care, and was awarded an RCN Award of Merit in 1995 serving as Chair of RCN Council until August 2002, resigning after making an "inappropriate and offensive" remark at a meeting when she used the term "10 Little Niggers", a possible variation of "A Nigger in the Woodpile", reportedly the original title of Agatha Christie's very atypical murder mystery, And Then There Were None.
Mrs. Botrrill always denied any racial connotation and stated that the term was not used in a racial context. She stated that the term was used when in a meeting the attendance was rapidly dropping off referring to the premise of the book, as one by one the individuals are killed, leaving only one person. The issue raised the question of institutional racism in the Royal College of Nursing. It was stated by the RCN that one only needs to look at her career and years of advocacy for nurses to see this was an unfortunate slip of the tongue referring back to the title of a book that was once in common use.
There was wide media discussion around the incident, discussing racism in healthcare and pillorying Mrs Bottril as a racist but even more often speaking out in her defense decyring the overreaction one word can cause and asking if one word used outside an offensive context was enough to invalidate a 40 year career of caring and professional advoacy. == References ==