A midwife has been crowned Croydon's health services' 'star of the year' in recognition of the support she gave a family whose daughter was born prematurely.

Rachel Martin was presented with the award after being nominated by Ayse and Vas Fasoulas, a Croydon couple, whose daughter Amara was born at 18 weeks after being diagnosed with Alpha Thalessemia Major, a genetic condition which often results in unborn babies dying before delivery or shortly after birth.

Rachel, who works at Croydon Health Services maternity unit, was assigned as their midwife to support them through the emotional delivery and in the immediate hours after.

Ayse and Vas, who attended the ceremony to see Rachel receive the accolade, explained their reasons behind Rachel nomination: “She was amazing. As you can imagine it was a very sad and difficult time for my husband and I, but Rachel showed us so much compassion and care.

“When our daughter was born she treated her with such respect and love. We know as a midwife being assigned to deliver a premature baby, that everyone knows will not survive, must be very hard.

"Rachel made us feel very cared for, supported and safe and we knew our daughter was in safe hands with her.

“Being here tonight has shown us the huge amount of good work that goes on at the Trust.

"It’s been amazing to see and along with Rachel, everyone was well deserving of their awards.

"We’re sure that for every winner tonight there are a least 100 others who deserve awards too.”

Rachel, who was "stunned" by her win, said: "I’d like to thank Ayse and Vas for nominating me for the CHS star of the year award, and attending this evening.

"My role as midwife is to be an advocate to women and their families during these life-changing experiences and it is my privilege to support them on their journeys.”

The CHS Star of the Year was part of the Trust’s annual Croydon Stars staff awards.

The annual awards ceremony, held at the home of Crystal Palace Football Club, gives the Trust the opportunity to thank their staff providing care in the community - clinics, people’s homes and their hospitals.

The Trust welcomed back former Crystal Palace and England striker Mark Bright who presented the winners with their awards, along with Trust interim Chief Executive Matthew Kershaw.

This year saw the highest ever number of nominations, with over 300 submitted by CHS staff highlighting the hard work of their colleagues.