An aspiring doctor who cares for her disabled sister has been awarded a five-year medical scholarship.

Halima Adam, from Blackburn, is the primary carer for her younger sister Zafirah, who has cerebral palsy.

The 24-year-old has been chosen as this year's recipient of the Mackenzie Scholarship from the University of Central Lancashire.

Halima said: “I was really delighted when I found out I’d been awarded the scholarship. Not only is it such a special honour but it really took the financial pressure off me.

"I’m the main carer for my 22-year-old sister, so to know I wouldn’t have to struggle to fit more part-time working around my studies and have the time to care for her was a huge bonus.”

She is the first of her family to study to become a doctor but caring is in her family’s blood as her sisters are also healthcare professionals in nursing and radiography and her parents work in community care.

Halima, who completed a healthcare science degree at the University of Bradford before starting at UCLan in September, has been combining her studies with working as a health care assistant at Royal Preston Hospital since 2018.

She added: “I have been inspired to pursue a career in medicine from a young age.

“My family have seen my struggles, but I’ve persevered and have always kept believing that I’d get my chance one day. To get my place at my local University, where I’ll study at both the Preston and Burnley campuses and will undertake my placements at my local hospital is a dream.”

The aim of the Mackenzie Scholarship is to provide opportunities for students who come from backgrounds that are under-represented at university to study medicine, as well recruiting and retaining local doctors to NHS employment in areas, such as Lancashire, that struggle to keep hold of healthcare professionals.

Jointly funded by UCLan and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, the scholarship is open to all Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery (MBBS) applicants from East Lancashire and covers the recipient’s tuition fees for the duration of the five-year course.