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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Southampton student enjoys royal date at nurses' awards ceremony

Published: 26 March 2014

A Southampton student enjoyed a royal date when he attended a glittering ceremony in London to celebrate the brightest nursing and midwifery students of today.

Alex Collyer was presented with his award by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who was guest of honour at the event, held at Fishmongers Hall, London Bridge, which marked the culmination of the prestigious 2013/14 Cavell Nurses' Trust Scholarship Awards.

Her Royal Highness is President of the Edith Cavell Centenary Appeal, which aims to raise £3 million by October 2015, to double the number of beneficiaries which the national nurses' charity currently supports.

Alex, aged 26, who is studying a combined adult and child nursing degree course at the University of Southampton, was runner-up in the coveted Edith Cavell Leadership Award.

He said: "I had an amazing day at the Cavell Awards. The Princess Royal had a great understanding of the challenges facing nursing. I meet some inspirational nurses and hopefully it opened up some great opportunities for the future."

At the event The Princess Royal addressed the invited audience, saying: "It is a pleasure to join you tonight, a really nice occasion for us all to be able to celebrate and congratulate our winners and to thank, particularly the Cavell Nurses' Trust for supporting the next generation of nursing leaders in Britain at such an important point in their careers."

Her Royal Highness said she was proud to be President of the charity's centenary appeal, adding: "The Trust feels this is an appropriate time to allow us to invest even more in the future of our young nurses and midwives. It is an entirely worthwhile aim of this kind of event which raises the profile of these young people."

She said the award winners now had the "extraordinary valuable gift" to be able to go out and learn.

"If the Trust has the ability to support more of them, they can attract more people to the opportunity and support their ambitions and dreams for the future."

The Princess Royal also spoke about the "ethos" that Edith Cavell had, "the real role she had in caring and the real difference that made. Edith Cavell had so little to work with but what a difference she made in the name of humanity. And that is something we really can afford to celebrate in the next few years. 

"It is a story that touched people's lives across the world, not just here in Britain. And the Trust has a lot to celebrate and a lot to go for."

The Princess Royal presented the Edith Cavell Leadership Award, which comes with a travel scholarship worth £2,000, to adult nursing student Charlotte Johnston, who is studying at the University of Lincoln.

The other awards, which each carry a scholarship worth £1,500, went to Myra Ariyaratnam from Edinburgh University (Outstanding Academic Achievement Award), Aisha Gaido from Anglia Ruskin University (Community Award), Joshua Kernohan from Birmingham City University (Outstanding Nurse Award), and Judith Jones of Salford University (Outstanding Student Midwife Award).

Notes for editors

Cavell Nurses' Trust is a registered charity that supports the UK's 650,000 student, working and retired nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who need financial help and support following illness, injury and other difficulties.

The Trust was established in 1917 in memory of Edith Cavell who died in occupied Belgium in 1915. It is "A living legacy of caring and learning". It has provided financial support worth more than £2.5 million over the last five years to thousands of working and retired nurses, health care assistants and student nurses in need.

The Trust has launched a Centenary Appeal with the aim of raising a million by October 2015 to double the number of beneficiaries it supports.

The Princess Royal is President of the appeal. For further information please visit

The Trust also promotes annual Scholarship Awards aim to recognise exceptional student nurses and midwives in the UK. They are open to students currently studying nursing or midwifery on undergraduate/postgraduate or diploma courses at universities in the UK. 

For further press information please contact:

Jasmin Rana, Events and Individual Giving Manager,

Vicky Law, Events and Individual Giving Administrator,

Pam Beecham, Media Support,

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