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MPI UK and Ireland Chapter announces winner of the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship 2018

Meetings Professionals International UK & Ireland has announced the winner of the latest edition of the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship Award. Ebony Banks is studying Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management at Wrexham Glyndwr University. 

Ebony beat off stiff competition with 10 nominees being shortlisted this year. Her victory was announced at MPI Networks Christmas Connects event, hosted by the Melia White House Hotel on Tuesday 4th December. Ebony’s achievements were celebrated with a drinks reception and networking with other event professionals, as well as live music provided by creative entertainment agency SongDivision.

Course leader Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy commented: “Learning that Ebony had won this international prestigious award was fantastic news. She will benefit greatly from the work experience and is very excited to get started. These opportunities are invaluable to event students and even better when one of our hard-working students win!”

Now in its seventh year, the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship scheme was created in 2011 in honour of UK event industry veteran Vanessa Cotton who died in 2010 after a battle with cancer.     

Following the strength of the applications received, the judging panel shortlisted 10 nominees which were then put forward to Reed Travel Exhibitions to select the final winner who receives a month-long paid internship with them. Reed are one of the world’s leading events organisers, with a growing portfolio of 500 events in 41 countries, and a staff of 3,000 exhibition specialists. 

Richard Allchild, president of the MPI UK&I Chapter, said: “The quality of the entrants has once again been unbelievable. All of the students are truly passionate about our industry and it must have been a tough decision to choose the winner, so a massive congratulations to our winner Ebony. 

“The Vanessa Cotton Scholarship gives students the opportunity to gain invaluable paid work experience within the industry after leaving university which can only help their career development. Reed Exhibitions has partnered with MPI for many years on this initiative, and I would like to thank them for their continued support.”

David Thompson, exhibition director, IBTM World, said: “We are honoured to support MPI’s Vanessa Cotton Scholarship once again this year. In a dynamic industry such as ours, it is vital that we recognise and nurture new and emerging talent, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming Ebony, this year’s winner, to spend some time with the IBTM team, including at IBTM World, and to giving her a real insight into the diverse and exciting world of meetings and events.”