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STAR STUDENT BECOMES FACE OF ROYAL BRITISH LEGION POPPY APPEAL

A former Stratford-upon-Avon College student has been chosen to front The Royal British Legion’s 2020 Poppy Appeal following a string of media appearances this year.

Nicole Brown, from Birmingham, was working as a Health Care Assistant at the Olivet Residential & Nursing Home when Health & Social Care Assessor Lisa Taggart noticed something special in the inspiring young woman. Nicole was encouraged to study an apprenticeship with the College and begin her nursing journey.

Nicole in Navy Uniform with hands behind back
Nicole Brown has made a range of media appearances including on BBC News, BBC West Midlands and ITV News

Nicole impressed tutors at the College and was given the prestigious ‘Outstanding Student of the Year’ award. Remembering it fondly, she says: “The College organised a lovely ceremony and I felt so honoured.”

With her unwavering determination to make a positive impact on society, Nicole has continued to immerse herself in a variety of care roles. Upon leaving the College, she continued to study nursing at Birmingham City University, specialising in cardiology. It was in the third year of her course that she decided to join the Royal Navy.

“I like a challenge, pushing myself, and meeting new people on the way. It’s a great feeling to be able to do things one can’t do in civilian life.” She remarks.

Nicole stood in her window with poppy in window
Nicole wears her poppy with pride and encourages others to donate to The Poppy Appeal

More recently, Nicole has started a new role as a student paramedic. She explains: “I want to keep expanding my medical knowledge and it’s not about the qualification but rather the ability to give and upskill as much as I can.”

It was during her third month in the role when the devastating footage of George Floyd’s death appeared on our screens. Nicole took to her social media to express her own hurt and challenges as a Black woman in society: “Growing up I’ve always been the racial minority which has been an experience. The challenges I’ve faced have made me who I am today. We need to stick together and make a difference!”

Her sentiments resonated with many and the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) reposted her statement. The enlightening engagement between the two struck a chord with the national and local media, resulting in a stream of media appearances for Nicole. This was where she attracted the attention of The Royal British Legion, beginning her journey as the face of 2020’s Poppy Appeal.

Nicole Smiling as she stands in her Naval Uniform
NHS Nurse, Naval Reservist and student paramedic, Nicole Brown is not one to shy away from a challenge

“I was shocked when they got in touch, but it felt so good to be a part of the Poppy Appeal and if it means taking time out of my day, I’m honoured to do so. I wear my poppy with pride and the money that is raised goes towards veterans who need special assistance as well as towards the military.”

Nicole looks forward to qualifying as a paramedic and hopes to continue her advancement in the medical field.

Find out more about the College’s Health & Social Care courses.