Management of the Fellowship

The Fellowship is run by members who hold elected Council positions

Gillian Prager (née Biggs)

(President) (retiring in 2021)

Gillian Prager trained as a registered nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, following teaching for VSO in the South Pacific, which influenced her decision to become a nurse. Following a career in haematology and cardiology Gill specialised in interventional radiology in the 1980s, as a sister at St Thomas’ Hospital, co-founding a Specialist Nurse group at the RCN. Gill had worked as a sister at King Edward V11 Hospital for Officers in London during which time she toured with the European Community Youth Orchestra as a clinician and chaperone! She moved into the commercial sector as Manager for an American Radiology company before taking time out to get married and raise her family.

During this time, she volunteered with local charitable and support organisations; notably as the first regional coordinator in Hertfordshire for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. She returned to the NHS in 1995 working in Health Authorities and PCTs until her retirement in November 2011. Gill worked at Board director level for the last nine years of her career, with a special interest in corporate governance and partnership working; this included representing the NHS Confederation on the national Home Office Crime and Disorder Partnership Board. Gill remained dedicated to maintaining the highest possible standards of nursing care in all her NHS roles, and on retirement spent two years as the non-executive Board Nurse for Corby Clinical Commissioning Group

Gillian trained and works as an Executive Coach, particularly supporting clinicians in top management roles, and also finds time to walk her dogs and support local charities. She was a patron of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust from 2015 to 2018 and recently was installed as a Foundation Freeman of the Guild of Nurses. She is particularly honoured to be leading the Nightingale Fellowship during a time of change, renewal and the bi-centenary celebrations, for the birth of Florence Nightingale, in 2020.


Christine Taylor (née Watson-Jones) (Honorary Secretary)            (retiring in 2022) 

Christine Taylor did her general and intensive care training at St Thomas’ and worked as a Charge Nurse on Cheselden Ward. She trained as a midwife in Gloucester and returned to London to take up Ward Sister positions in a number of London teaching hospitals. Christine has experience in commissioning services and hospitals, setting and monitoring quality standards and managing in a variety of NHS settings as well as Local Government. She has an MSc in Clinical Nursing and a Doctorate in Business Administration. Her DBA explored the development of reflective practitioners within professional doctoral programmes.

Christine is married with two children. She currently works as a Registrar for Births Deaths and Marriages and provides voluntary assistance to the Derby Diocese; supporting mission action planning as a facilitator and minister development as an independent reviewer.

Shona Cornthwaite (née Morrison) (Honorary Treasurer) (retiring in 2022)

Shona was awarded her Nightingale badge in 1981 and has spent the majority of her career in community child health, with an emphasis on the promotion of health and prevention of ill health. On leaving St Thomas’ Hospital she trained to become a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse at Guy’s, after which she travelled to Australia where she worked in a Special Care Baby Unit in Melbourne. On returning to the UK she undertook her Post Graduate Diploma in Health Visiting at London South Bank University and initially practiced in the Clapham and Streatham areas of Lambeth. Thereafter she has worked within a number of locations with different challenging communities. Alongside this she has completed a BSc in Social Policy and Administration at the LSE and a MA in Health Service Management. Following a brief spell as a lecturer she returned to clinical practice and in the latter part of her career has worked as a Designated Nurse for Looked After Children within a large Safeguarding Team, as well as within a Family Nurse Practitioner team supporting pregnant teenagers. I am married to Peter and our two children are now adult living away from home, giving me more time to enjoy my hobbies of walking, tennis and my garden.


Maddie Blackburn

Maddie recently completed her doctorate at the Open University, researching the Sexuality, relationships and reproductive choices of young adults with life-limiting and or life-threatening conditions. She is a visiting Research Fellow at The Open University and chairs their Sexuality Alliance. She is currently producing on- line education resources related to the sexuality of people with life-limiting conditions for The Open University’s Open Learn and is publishing widely on her research. Prior to her PhD, Maddie was Director of Care Development at Together for Short Lives, the national children’s and young people’s palliative care charity, Chief Executive of a children’s and adults hospice at home service, Head of Children’s and Young People Strategy  with a former UK regulator, and a practising solicitor working at the Law Society and two law firms

After completing her training and Nightingale Badge, Maddie worked as a staff nurse in Accident and Emergency and Mead, Intensive Care before training as a midwife at Guys and St Thomas’s and as a Health Visitor at South Bank University.  She practised as a health visitor for many years in London. Maddie is married, has two adult children, three grandchildren and a noisy Siamese cat. With her husband, she regularly conducts guided tours of modernist buildings and is a keen, long distance walker.


Pauleene Hammett (née Brown)

Pauleene Hammett trained as a nurse and a midwife at St Thomas’ and began teaching Midwifery in 1977.  For the last 10 years I was Head of Midwifery education at King’s College London until retiring in 2007. Throughout my career I was fortunate to maintain close links with St Thomas’ through placing and supporting midwifery students and working closely with clinical staff to develop relevant curricula at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I was sadly widowed in 2010 and 4 years ago I trained as a Pastoral Assistant and find this part of my life very fulfilling. It gives me the privilege of walking alongside others when they are going through difficult times. I have 2 adult sons who are both married and I am now a very proud Grandma. I love spending time with family and friends and travel whenever possible.

Elizabeth Wiacek (née Elsom)

After qualifying in 1990 and completing the post reg staff nurse period at St. Thomas’, Liz spent some time working in France as a nurse.  She then went to Edinburgh and trained as a midwife.  After getting married and returning to the south, Liz worked for several years first in urology and then district nursing.  She now works for the Open University as a lecturer and Practice Tutor, working closely with pre-registration student nurses.  She feels privileged to be able to combine her love of nursing with her love of teaching.

Liz has three grown up children and has recently relocated to Devon with her husband.  In her spare time, Liz runs, swims and walks her dog.

Georgina Wingfield

 Georgina qualified as a Registered Nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1974. She spent her earlier years working overseas starting in South Africa and later spent 14 years working in Australia where she worked predominantly in specialist care including spinal injuries and completed her Intensive Care Nursing Certificate Course.  On her return to England Georgina finally moved into Occupational Health at the University of Bristol and graduated in 2001.

Georgina continues to work, predominantly from home, in Cornwall not far from the sea, where she spends time with her two cats.  She maintains strong ties with Australia and brings her work experiences to contribute to the council. 

Carolyn Driver

Following her training at St Thomas’, Carolyn worked for Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps putting her Intensive Care Training to good use. Since marrying and raising her two children she undertook a distance learning programme for a Master of Science Degree in travel medicine and has, for the past 18 years, specialised in this field.  Carolyn is a founder Fellow of the Faculty of Travel Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and has also been involved in the National Travel Health Network and Centre from its inception in 2001 to the present time.   She is now approaching retirement and is looking forward to being proactive during her Term of Office.

Cecilia Orchard (née Page)

Cecilia began her Nightingale career in her training set of 1977 and has been pro-active in hosting tea parties and organising a 40th reunion.  She has maintained her links with Nightingales throughout.  Following her training she did Midwifery at Odstock Hospital before returning as a staff midwife at St Thomas’ Hospital and the West London Hospital, Hammersmith.   Having retired Cecilia works as the Flu Vaccinator in the Antenatal Clinic in Salisbury where she lives.  Whilst taking a career break Cecilia remained extremely active in running parenting course, on various committees and, with her husband and children, has also been involved with the Order of Malta Volunteers as part of the medical team which facilitates holidays for severely disabled guests.  

Jessica Streeting

 Jessica was a November 1985 set and currently works full time as Named Nurse for Looked After Children in Central London Borough.  She is a Queen’s Nurse practice educator and writes for the nursing press as an advocate for public health and community nursing.  Jessica has also been School nursing Advisor to Public Health England and is on the executive committee of SAPHNA (School and Public Health Nurses’ Association).

Jessica feels privileged to sing at the Chapel Service every year on AGM Day as part of the Nightingale Soloists.  She is clinical lead for the charity Our Time, which supports children with the impact of parents with mental illness.  She has also written a novel about school nursing ‘Last Summer in Soho’.

Carol Walton (née Beamont)

 Carol qualified as a Nightingale at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1966 and, apart from short breaks when her children were born, she has continued to work as a nurse and midwife in Scotland, England and Wales in a variety of settings.  Since moving to Cardiff in 1985 where she worked as a midwife in a large county in South Wales, she became a specialist midwife as the lactation consultant and breastfeeding adviser for her trust.  Carol was a previous Council member from 2006 – 2014 and welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Fellowship once again and in particular in relation to the celebrations planned for Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary in 2020 and for the future of the Fellowship.

Non-elected, paid management personnel

The Trust Partnership

Mia Duddridge (Clerk to the Trustees/Administrator)

The Trust Partnership are the administrators who handle all the daily enquiries for the Fellowship and its’ members from their offices in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

Mia Duddridge is Clerk to the Trustees and the main contact who assists the Trustees in all their meeting management and Governance requirements.

Angela Adams is the Journal coordinator/administrator and is the ‘go to’ person for any enquiries relating to the Journal and assists Mia with the administration.

Conferred Honours


Sue Sheridan, OBE (née Norman) (2008 – 2016)

Sue Sheridan retired as Chief Executive of the UKCC (now NMC) in 2002 since when she has been President of National Association of Theatre Nurses (now AfPP), a Trustee of Burdett Trust for Nursing and chaired a supported housing charity. She recently stood down as Chair of the Florence Nightingale Museum Trust Board and having enjoyed nine years as President of the Fellowship is now focussing on a different set of interests.

Sue was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2014, as President of the Nightingale Fellowship, for her Services to Nursing.

Elizabeth Jenkins FRCN (née Winder) (2001 – 2008)

Liz completed her 4th year, and got her Nightingale badge in 1965, and went to Guy’s to work in the renal unit as sister and nursing officer until 1984. 

In 1986 she was appointed Director of Nursing at St Thomas’, and the following year became the hospital first Unit General Manager. She finished her nursing career as Assistant General Secretary at The Royal College of Nursing.

In 1986 Liz was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing.

Natalie Tiddy (1988 – 2001)

Past Chief Nurse to West Lambeth Health Authority and past President of the Nightingale Fellowship.


(past council members who have held honorary office with outstanding contribution)

Sir Jonathan Asbridge

Past President of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Government ‘Patients Champion’ for A&E services. Now Director of Clinicenta.

Elizabeth Browse MBE

Having been Sister on Alexandra & Page wards since 1976, and although she officially retired in 2010, she is very much enjoying being back working part-time with the colorectal cancer nurse specialist team at St Thomas’.

Fiona Geiger 

Fiona Geiger is currently working as a Matron in the Division of Surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary. She was a Ward Sister on Wardroper Ward at St Thomas’ Hospital from 1986 – 1991. She is married to Philip and has two teenage boys – Richard and Matthew.

Jo Jacques

After leaving St Thomas’, Jo Jacques worked in Germany with the British Army and then in Guildford on the district and as an agency nurse.

She subsequently moved into chaplaincy initially in mental health and general hospital chaplaincy, then in prisons and finally, in a school for boys with specific learning difficulties. Having recently retired after twenty years in chaplaincy, she is combining her duties as a Trustee of The Nightingale Fellowship and a Foundation Governor of a school for children with complex learning and behavioural issues.
She has an MA in Pastoral Studies, and gained a further MA in Contemporary Ethics in 2015 with a dissertation on the ethics of being retired. She is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.

Katie Scales

Katie was awarded her Nightingale badge in 1982 and enjoyed a successful and rewarding career in critical care nursing and education. Having completed her neonatal ITU course at UCH and her adult ITU course at St Thomas’ she joined the Nightingale School as Clinical Teacher for the ITU course on Mead Ward and later worked as a lecturer in intensive care nursing and physiology at the Nightingale Institute. In 2000 Katie became one of the first Consultant Nurses in the UK when she was appointed Consultant Nurse in Critical Care at Charing Cross Hospital and later at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, a role she held until her retirement in 2016. Katie worked for many years as a member of the medical team for Chain of Hope, a children’s charity providing cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology in developing countries. Katie was a founding board member of NIVAS and provides expert advice on infusion therapy to the MHRA. Katie is widely published and works as an expert witness for IV therapy and critical care, she is also a member of the Advisory Board for RCNi and Nursing Standard magazine. Katie was elected to the Council of the Nightingale Fellowship in 2006 and was Honorary Secretary to the Fellowship from 2012 – 2015.

Roisin Tierney, MVO

Past Nursing Officer of Mead (ITU) and Phipps Respiratory Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, followed by a Senior Nurse post at Guys and employment in the Royal Household at St James’s Palace. Honorary Treasurer of the Fellowship for 13 years until 2008.  Roisin worked at St Thomas’ from 1960 – 1983 and also for many years in the Nightingale Office at St Thomas’ until retiring in 2009.  Roisin is now happily and busily retired from ‘active service’ at St Thomas’ Hospital and the Royal Household.  Her involvement with St Thomas’ continues, although rather on the periphery.

Ros Villiers-Boddington (née Plant)

Ros worked in the NHS as a Clinical Teacher and Tutor in the Nightingale School, followed by roles in staff, team and leadership development in large Acute Trusts and at Regional and National level. Her last post was Associate Director of the National Clinical Governance Support Team. She was Honorary Treasurer of the Fellowship from 2008 – 2014. Ros now undertakes part time consulting work in the field of personal and team development and is a volunteer speaker for Dogs for the Disabled.


David Green                                                                                                     

Director, Florence Nightingale Museum

David Green is the Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum. A graduate in history and politics, with a post-graduate qualification in museums and heritage management, David joined the team in July 2017 having previously worked in a variety of senior management roles across the heritage sector. This included time with Nottingham Castle, The Natural History Museum and The National Trust, as well as working with several smaller museums. David is passionate about using heritage as a catalyst for community cohesion projects and civic regeneration. Away from work David enjoys visiting heritage sites across the world, notably in Asia and Latin America and volunteering with Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare. 

The Reverend Canon Mia Hilborn

Hospitaller, Head of spiritual health care and chaplaincy team leader, Guy’s and St. Thomas’

 Mia took up this post in 2001, and was previously paediatric and free church chaplain at Barts and the London.  She was ordained in 1989 a United Reformed Church minister, in Nottingham, and was re-ordained an Anglican priest in 2002. She is also head of chaplaincy for the London Fire Brigade and chaplain and trustee for the Firefighters Memorial Trust. Mia has also written several articles and chapters on trauma chaplaincy and end of life care, and she teaches on spiritual assessment, disasters, psychological first aid, psycho-spiritual trauma response and clinical ethics. The chaplaincy team at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ specialises in training, with several courses running each year such as PG Cert in healthcare chaplaincy or spiritual care, and are also setting up a Masters in spiritual care (through London South Bank). Mia is a Third Order Franciscan and a member of the Community of the Cross of Nails and Together for Hope, part of Coventry Cathedral’s reconciliation ministry. She is married to David, a theological college principal, and has two children, Matt and Alice.

Professor Helen McCutcheon PhD, MPH, BA, RN, RM

Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean Gender, Equity and Inclusion | Faculty of Health Sciences Curtin University 

Having worked as Professor of Nursing at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care King’s College London, and Adelaide and Queensland Universities, Helen was invited to be an Honorary Vice President in recognition of her strong support to the Nightingale Fellowship. Her current role as Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor in Perth encompasses all clinical fields including medicine, nursing, midwifery, social and psychological service and public health as well as other clinical specialities and biomedical sciences.

Professor Irene Higginson OBE

Professor of Palliative Care and Policy, Executive Dean, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, Kings College Hospital London and NIHR Senior Investigator (emeritus)

Prof. Higginson is Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute, at King’s College London, the world’s first purpose-built Institute of palliative care, integrating research, education, clinical services and support and information. She is an NIHR Senior Investigator (emeritus) and was in 2013 awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences for her contribution to palliative care. She remains active in research, education and clinical care, founded the MSc in Palliative Care at King’s College London.  In 2019 she was recognised as being in the top 1% of cited researchers in applied health research.  She is well known for extending palliative care beyond cancer, and for her work in breathlessness and home care.

Avey Bhatia 

Chief Nurse Guy’s & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, Vice President Florence Nightingale Foundation & Honorary Vice President of The Nightingale Fellowship.

Avey Bhatia qualified in 1991, having trained at Maidstone Hospital in Kent.  She has held various staff nurse and sister posts at hospitals in London including St George’s, where she moved into management, eventually becoming a divisional director of nursing.  In 2011 she was appointed deputy chief nurse at South London Healthcare Trust and became chief nurse at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust in 2013.  She started as Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at St Georges University Hospital Foundation Trust in February 2017.  Since February this year she has been carrying out the role of Chief Operating Officer, helping to lead the Trust’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avey Bhatia joined as Chief Nurse & Vice President of the Florence Nightingale Foundation at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in November 2020.  She is returning to the Trust having trained as a critical care nurse at St Thomas’ in the early part of her career. Her clinical experience includes theatres, general intensive care, coronary care and cardiothoracic nursing. Avey holds a post graduate diploma in Health Services Management and a Master’s in Public Administration.