RCN London announce this year’s Rising Star  Award winners 

The awards are part of the region’s celebrations for Black History Month

1 Oct 2021

RCN London is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Rising Star Awards.

Rising Star Award winners photo

The Rising Star Awards recognise nurses and healthcare support workers from London’s Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) nursing community who have made an outstanding contribution to the capital’s health and care system. The theme this year is anti-racism: a time for literacy and transformation.

The winners were recognised for championing culture change and acting as role models; educating and mentoring colleagues to create more inclusive and supportive working environments; and for using their own experience to bring about meaningful improvements in services for their patients, particularly patients from a BAME background.  

The winners work across a range of settings in London including in hospitals and out in the community, and in specialist areas such as stroke services, substance misuse, and end-of-life care. 

Rising Star winner, Jesca Gudza, the only Looked After Children's Nurse in Bexley, said: 

“It is an honour to be recognised as one of RCN London’s Rising Stars. As a black nurse originally from Zimbabwe, I hope my award shows other nurses from abroad that our contribution does matter and that we are valued members of London’s nursing community.”

Another winner, Ann Roberts, a specialist palliative care nurse who started her role on the first day of lockdown in March 2020, said: 

“I am deeply touched to have been nominated for this award. Although it has been a steep learning curve I work with an exceptionally generous and supportive team.   For me, it is a privilege to be able to care for people at the end of their life and I am proud to work in service that provides care that always strives to understand and respects people’s uniqueness, culture beliefs and values.”

Congratulating the winners, RCN Regional Director for London, Lisa Elliott, said: 

“Our winners this year are trailblazers, calling out unacceptable behaviour while inspiring colleagues to bring about real improvements in their workplace culture. They used their own lived experience to create more engaging ways to deliver more personalised care to their patients.  

While there have been some improvements to reduce racial inequalities in London, cultural transformation in the health and care system is not happening fast enough. Too many of the capital’s BAME nursing community still feel unheard, dismissed, and are rightly impatient for change. Employers must lead from the front, take a zero-tolerance approach to racism, continue to roll out practical actions to empower, promote and educate all staff members”. 

Introducing RCN London's 2021 Rising Star Award Winners

Our Rising Star Award winners 2021

Nominee Name


Jesca Gudza

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

Ann Roberts

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Mercedes Miguel

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Neluka Thiagarajah

Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust

Sabiha Malik

Barts Health NHS Trust

Asha Bhulia

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Sheron King

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Yasmin Shooble

Agency Nurse 

John Owiti

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

Lora Espancho

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

Renee Barrett

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

Julia Gangata

Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Sharon Bubb

St Luke’s Hospice

Joel Obando Reyes

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Tafara Inniss

South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust

Join RCN London's Black History Month Event

We are hosting an online event that promises to be a thought-provoking day of learning, discussion, and celebration. The RCN’s Diversity and inclusion lead, Wendy Irwin, and Professor Calvin Moorley, will be delivering sessions about the language of racism and allyship along with session with London members sharing their own lived experience.

The event is also open to non RCN members. 

Click here to sign up.

Page last updated - 05/10/2021