Back to top

2024 Winners Announced

15 May 2024


Today, the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust is delighted to announce the winners of the 2024 Iolanthe Awards.

This year, we have given our coveted awards, including the innaugural Nicolette Peel Award, the Norah Faith Coniam Award, the Jean Davies Award, the Dora Opoku Midwives Award and the Mary Cronk Award, to 11 midwives and student midwives. 

Acting Iolanthe Chair, Logan Van Lessen, said

I am so delighted to congratulate all our worthy winners, and a big thank you to everyone taking the time to apply and for wanting to make maternity care so much better for our women, birthing people and babies.

At Iolanthe we have been honoured to be able to support midwives and students and look forward to more projects and innovations from you all next year. Our very best wishes to you all.

Iolanthe's Executive Director, Moira Dennison added

Congratulations to our amazing 2024 award winners.  It is such a privilege for us all at The Iolanthe Midwifery Trust to be able to support such important work in the midwifery field. 

I am looking forward to meeting you all at our award ceremony later in the year and also reading about the progress you make with the work that we have helped fund.

And here, they are, our...

2024 Award Winners

The 2024 Iolanthe/Royal College of Midwives Jean Davies Award for addressing health inequalities goes to:

Hannah Alice King, a Labour Ward Coordinator at the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre, who will use her award to develop and deliver Birth Without Bias training within her Trust and for the RCM, as part of her PhD studies. 

The winner of the 2024 Dora Opoku Award for Black and Brown midwives is:

Rebecca Sobodu, Practice Development Midwife at the Royal London Hospital,  who will pursue a Masters in Public Health at King's College London with the goal of challenging systemic discrimination and working for safe, inclusive healthcare for all.


The 2024 Mary Cronk Award (to an applicant for another award whose project aligns with Mary's passions and values) goes to: 

Mira Waligora, Vice President of the University of the West of Scotland's Student Midwife Society, whose Iolanthe application will enable her to offer a "How to Work With Interpreters" study day to all her fellow midwifery students.

The 2024 Norah Faith Coniam Award (for a project addressing issues around baby loss and bereavement, including early pregnancy loss) goes to:

Zahra Famili, Lead Midwife for the Bereavement Team at Guy's and St Thomas's Trust, who in collaboration with ten other health professionals across several Trusts, will develop and pilot Memory Wallets to document, and share support resources around, early baby loss including during pregnancy, with the aim of standardising a quality resource nationally.

The innaugural Nicolette Peel Award (for a project or training to improve the maternity care of vulnerable pregnant women and birthing people) goes to:

Georgina Leech, Perinatal Mental Health Midwife at King's College Hospital, who will use her award to take a Non-Medical Prescribing Course at London South Bank University, enabling her to embed non-medical prescribing into her specialist clinic supporting vulnerable women and birthing people.

The winners of Iolanthe's only 2024 Student Award is:

Mira Waligora, (above), Vice President of the University of the West of Scotland's Student Midwife Society, whose Iolanthe application will enable her to offer a "How to Work With Interpreters" study day to all her fellow midwifery students. Mira has also received the 2024 Mary Cronk Award


The six Iolanthe Midwives Award Winners are: 

Maria Velo Higueras, (above), a Midwifery Lecturer at Robert Gordon University, whose award will support her engagement with service users, birth workers, and midwives as part of her  PhD study  “A feminist mixed-methods exploration of UK midwives’ attitudes and experiences on freebirth”.

Amy Lewis, (above), a Perinatal Mental Health Midwife at  Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, who will use her funding to undertake the Perinatal Mental Health Postgraduate Module at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, to support her specialist role.

Zoi Vardavaki, (above), Senior Midwifery Lecturer at London South Bank University, who will use her funding to pursue her PhD research: "MiROG - Midwifery Research on Out of Guidance birth choices Clinics and services: a mixed method study" at the University of Hertfordshire. 

Alix Aitken-Arbuckle, (above), Clinical Academic Senior Midwife with NHS Lothian/Edinburgh Napier University, who will use her award to purse a Cultural Change in Maternity Services project, including the development of Midwifery Advocate roles to support positive cultural change within the workplace. 

Claire Parkin, (above), Clinical Supervisor for Midwives and Royal College of Midwives Learning Representative at Singleton Hospital, who will use her funds to offer a Biomechanics for Birth Professionals workshop to her midwifery team, enabling midwives to embed a biomechanics focus in their care of birthing families. 

Kirsty Smith, (above), a Midwife and aquanatal teacher with Lorn and Islands Hospital, Oban, whose Award will fund swimming pool hire, enabling her to offer free aquanatal classes to pregnant women in her rural community.

All the Trustees and staff at Iolanthe Midwifery Trust send our congratulations to these outstanding midwives and student midwives. We are inspired by your visions for improving the UK's maternity care, and look forward to seeing your projects and plans eventuate over the coming year. 

Lorn and Islands Midwife Kirsty smith trained as an aquanatal teacher to be able to offer local people enhanced pregnancy support