BDA Award Winners Announced!

BDA Award Winners Announced!

17 June 2016

The British Dietetic Association hosted its annual Awards Dinner on the evening of 16 June 2016 in Birmingham. The BDA Awards were overseen by Honorary Chair Dr Fiona McCullough.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,500 members.

BDA Winners June 2016

L-R back row: Janie Faulkner on behalf of Pamela McIntosh, Bronagh Kelly, Harriet Williams, Sara Smith, Anne Holdoway, Honorary Chair Dr Fiona McCullough, Ailsa Kennedy, Nicola Henderson, Karen Wilson on behalf of Abigail Wilson, Najia Qureshi, Mandy Gilmore and Mary O'Kane. 

Front row: Ella Segaran, Carina Venter, Louise Sutton, Dr Clare Shaw, Ann Ashworth and Louise Wilkinson 

Ambassador of the Year

Our Ambassadors represent the BDA on a whole range of committees, working groups and task forces within Government, alongside other professions and in other organisations. Without our Ambassadors we could not influence policy in the way we do nor advocate on behalf of the profession to the same extent. Their contribution is huge and we like to say thank you to one person who has made a significant contribution to the way in which we represent our members and the profession.

Awarded to Anne Donolan

Anne Donelan ‘retired’ in 2012, and remains active in the field of hospital catering. As a BDA Ambassador, Anne works closely with the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), continuing to foster positive links between our two organisations.

She also represents the BDA on the HCA-led multi-agency ‘Last 9 Yards’ group, which includes representatives from the four home countries, NHS England and health care profession groups, such as nursing and SLT. The ‘Last 9 Yards’ aim is to support hospitals to meet the 2014 Hospital Food Plan Standards (on which Anne represented the BDA).

Anne has recently attended the multi-professional Dysphagia Group meetings as an Ambassador and contributes to the current thinking regarding the place of the dietetic profession in the assessment and treatment of people with dysphagia. For these reasons Anne fully deserves the award of Ambassador of the Year 2016.

Media Spokesperson of the Year

Our media presence is significant but we could not do this without our volunteer members. They provide a media presence across the printed word, TV, internet and radio. Each year we like to say thank you to one person who has shown a great commitment to this work.

Awarded to Abigail Wilson

Abi was an extremely dedicated Media Spokesperson, responding to press requests on behalf of the BDA almost daily. Abi commented on behalf of the BDA on TV, radio and in print publications about anything from sugar, to fad diets, food labelling, food storage and superfoods to name a few. She has featured in many publications including the Daily Mail, Men’s Health magazine, as well as on Sky News and the BBC and always held her own in difficult situations for example when placed in debates on live TV. Feedback from journalists was always positive with many comments about her knowledgeability and helpfulness.

Abi was a very reliable member of the spokesperson team who was hugely supportive and hardworking in spreading the BDA’s health messages, and even supporting the BDA Press Office over Christmas and being highly active on social media.

In addition to her work as a Spokesperson, Abi was also Chair of the BDA Freelance Specialist Group and had recently been appointed Chair of the European Specialist Dietitian Network for Primary Care through the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians.

Abi was relatively new to the dietetic profession, graduating from London Metropolitan University in 2009. In a short time, she made a tremendous contribution to dietetics, through her work with the BDA and also in her business career. Abi was passionate about using innovative ways of ensuring the public could access evidence-based and credible nutrition advice and information. She developed E-dietitians, an online magazine and blog and her new project ISOSHealth clinics launched last year. This provides on-demand access to healthcare professionals, through secure, remote clinics.

It was hugely shocking to learn that Abi passed away in May 2016, very suddenly, from an undiagnosed brain tumour. Abi was a bright and emerging star and had a huge amount of energy and ideas, she was an inspiration to anyone that she worked with.  We will never forget her drive, enthusiasm and passion for dietetics. 

Trade Union Representative of the Year

Members turn to our Trade Union in times of need and they are essential to our support to the profession. Trade Union Representatives make time to listen to members, solve problems and make a huge difference to members' lives. The Trade Union Board likes to say thank you to one Representative each year who demonstrates all the qualities of excellence and commitment.

Awarded to Bronagh Kelly

Bronagh is an organised mother, wife, Chair and Representative. She never shy's away from any situation, is always keen to help others, support colleagues when they need support and like all good Representatives, she steers members in the right direction.

She works hard and independently, requiring the minimum of advice and support. She never complains and always has a cheerful smile. In the recent years, Bronagh has got married, had a beautiful baby girl, moved house and now helps run the family farm, changed her job, took over as Chair of NIERC all while helping members and colleagues with their issues – nothing stands in her way.

Branch of the Year

Branches deliver local support and development for members. They are a vital part of the BDA providing events, CPD opportunities and access to networking. Each year, we recognise, one Branch which has typified excellence and best practice.

Awarded to South West England 

Previous to 2014, there had been no recent communication by the South West Branch to members (currently over 500) as there had been many years of inactivity.

Due to current NHS financial and other constraints, many SW dietitians find it difficult to attend educational events as they usually involve a long and possibly costly train or car journey. As it is such a huge geographical area (Isles of Scilly to Bristol) the SW Committee agreed and arranged duplicate meetings in 2015 in both the North (Bristol) and South (Plymouth) areas of the Branch to enable as many members as possible to attend.

Specialist Group of the Year

Each Specialist Group makes a unique and significant contribution to the BDA's work. They respond to national consultations, represent the profession, advance clinical specialisms, support members and so much more. Each year we say thank you to one Group which has demonstrated why it should be regarded as 'Specialist Group of the Year'.

Awarded to Renal Nutrition

The Renal Nutrition Group continues to work tirelessly to advance the work of the profession and promote the role of renal dietitians across the UK and further afield. Links with partner agencies, both within and outside of the NHS continue to grow in strength and ensure dietetics remains a key component of renal care. Through their reputation and network, the scope of their work continues to grow and new opportunities arise which they embrace. 

Highlights this year included:

  • the establishment of a working party to address issues around use of phosphate additives
  • RNG Dietetic Workforce Survey 2015
  • overview of nutritional considerations in the treatment of adult patients with acute kidney injury in hospital (November 2015)
  • editorial and article in in Journal of Renal Nursing
  • RNG stand at British Renal Society Conference June 2015.

IBEX Honour

Council thanks individuals who have made significant contributions to the profession either locally or in a specific speciality, this year including: 

Mandy Gilmore, Nicola Henderson, Ailsa Kennedy, Pamela McIntosh, Najia Qureshi, Dr Sara Smith, Ella Segaran and Louise Sutton.

Fellowship Honour

Fellowship of the Association was first awarded in 1979 and to date 94 Fellowships have been awarded. Fellowship is the highest honour which the Association can bestow upon a member in recognition of their achievements. This year, Fellowships are awarded to:

Anne Holdoway, Mary O’Kane, Sian O’Shea, Dr Clare Shaw and Carina Venter.

Elsie Widdowson Lecture

Dr Clare Shaw presented the Elsie Widdowson Lecture prior to the awards, focusing on Dietetics and Oncology: A Brief History of Time. The presentation focused on Clare’s own experience of dietetics in oncology to illustrate how the science of food and nutrition, underpinned by clinical research, has shaped dietetic practice so far.


The BDA thanks the following people for their involvement in the Award and Honour presentations; Dr Fiona McCullough, Andy Burman, Kath Durrans, Kate Hall, Sue Kellie and Belinda Mortell.

Information on the BDA Awards can be founded on the BDA website.

Information on the BDA Honours can be found on the BDA website.

The General and Education Trust (GET) Awards were presented on 16 March at the BDA@80 celebration. Read about the 2016 winners on our website.

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