A FORMER Irvine Royal Academy pupil has been awarded a prestigious professorship from the University of the West of Scotland.

Jean Rankin, of Kilwinning, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to national and international maternal health.

Jean’s education started at Corsehill Primary under head teacher Mary McKee before moving ontoKilwinning Academy and then Irvine Royal.

As well as being a practising midwife in NHS Ayrshire and Arran for 30 years, Jean has also held numerous positions including Supervisor of Midwives, Senior Lecturer and Academic Director of the university’s midwifery programme, and Lead Midwife for Education.

More recently Jean has influenced international breastfeeding practice as a board member of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

One of Jean’s most noted contributions to midwifery education was leading the competitive Scottish Government tender for midwifery education, which saw the University of the West of Scotland being recognised as one of three centres of excellence in Scotland.

She has been involved in midwifery research for 20 years, covering many important issues such as peer-supported breastfeeding in the UK, safe birthing techniques in Malawi and the role of physical activity in the mental wellbeing of pregnant mums-to-be.

Jean’s family are delighted and very proud of her achievement. When she is not busy working as a professor she also now has her hands full as a busy grandmother to Lucy, Zoe and John.