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The University of the West of England (UWE) has had a lot to celebrate as not one, but two students received prizes at the Society of Radiographers’ awards.

Recent UWE graduates Laura Bonner and Amy Walkman collected the awards at a ceremony at the Law Society, London, earlier in November. The prizes were presented by Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England’s chief allied health professions officer, and Charlie McCaffrey, chief executive of awards sponsors Carestream.

Laura Bonner received the student award in diagnostic radiography. The society’s president Gareth Thomas praised her saying: “Laura was a highly popular student with patients, academic and clinical staff. She has a passion and gift for connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds. I’m sure she will be an asset to our profession.”

When asked about her award, Laura said: “I found out on my graduation day. My tutor Janice St John-Matthews and module leader came over and said they had really exciting news. I was wondering what it was because I’d already graduated…They said they’d nominated me and I was really shocked. It didn’t sink in for ages, I was speechless!”

Laura won the award for being an inspirational role model, overcoming dyslexia and showing remarkable determination to qualify as a radiographer, as commended by Gareth Thomas. Upon being asked about her time at UWE she said: “I’ve had a great student experience at UWE Bristol but also a challenging one too. I was diagnosed with dyslexia late into my second year and unfortunately I failed one of my modules in second year which meant I could not graduate with my cohort. This made me more determined and motivated to pass academic modules and become a radiographer.”

The second student from UWE to be awarded was Amy Walkman, who was named Radiotherapy Student Radiographer of the Year.

Gareth Thomas said: “Amy excelled in her clinical practice, with supervisors noting her proficiency and outstanding talent. She couples this with her empathetic approach to patients to make a formidable combination. The Christie, where Amy has recently started working, have gained a great radiographer.”

When talking about her initial reactions, Amy said: “I was completely shocked to win, so much so that I had to ask my work colleague to check my phone to make sure that I wasn’t making up what I was reading…The award means so much to me, as even to be considered for this is an honour. I genuinely feel really proud of myself to have made such amazing accomplishments while at university.”

Janice St John-Matthews, Academic Director in UWE Bristol’s Department of Allied Health Professions, commended the winners, saying: “We would like to congratulate both Laura and Amy on this fantastic achievement. These learners represent the values of UWE Bristol and the diverse student body the University serves. We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the academic team, professional services and clinical partners who support all of our learners in their learning journey.”

This is the first time two students from the same institution have received prizes at these awards, which is truly something to celebrate.

By Philippa Jefferies

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