TALENTED teenagers from across Doncaster have been given a huge pat on the back at an annual awards ceremony aimed at recognising the town’s cream of the crop.
More than 30 pupils from 18 secondary schools descended on the Mansion House for the Doncaster Freemen Group’s Young People’s Awards which are designed to reward youngsters who have shown execptional talent or overcome adversity to excel in their studies.
Organisers were flooded with entries with each school nominating two pupils from years 10-13 during the last academic year to be put forward to receive a certificate.
Doncaster Freemen Group chairman Tony Storey, who served as head of Hayfield School for nearly forty years, hosted the event alongside civic mayor Coun Christine Mills and praised the talents of the young people picked out for honours.
He said: “I have always been aware that the vast majority of our young people mature sensibly with skills and talents to benefit the commnunity and these students cover an amazing range of attributes.
“Young people with positive attitudes and life skills are an important part of our Doncaster community and large numbers in our secondary schools and colleges add enormous value to the borough in a rainbow of ways – academic and vocational achievements, sporting prowess, music, drama and dance as well as charity initiatives. Congratulations to all of them.”
Among those picking up an award was Thorne Trinity Academy student Ryan Amesbury who has battled cancer and undergone months of treatment to return to his studies.
In his nomination submission, teachers wrote: “Ryan is a fine example to others in overcoming a major personal difficulty. When he was 14, he was diagnosed with bone cancer in one leg and had months of chemotherapy.
“Gradually he recovered due to his inner strength and fortitude. He then had to have part of his leg removed, followed by the fitting of a prosthetic leg.
“But Ryan returned to school and makes his way around unaided and has a good circle of friends. He will take the full set of GCSEs like his peers in the summer.
“We talk a lot anout values and character at Trinity but when you meet a young man like Ryan, you truly understand what compassions, determination, humility and courage are.”
Thomas Byatt was another to pick up a certificate for his “outstanding” contribution to Hatfield’s Ash Hill Academy, returning from Lincoln University, where he is now beginning an undergraduate degree in drama, to collect his award.
His teachers praised his dedication to performing arts, helping to stage a series of productions and encouraging other pupils to become involved in acting and added: “Tom is an extremely popular member of our academy and is highly thought of by staff and students alike. He will be greatly missed but we know he will be a shining light at Lincoln and has a great future ahead of him. He thoroughly deserves this award.”
De Warrene Academy’s Sophie Brammer was also singled out – for her dedication and determination to succeed in her studies and becoming the first person in her family to win a place at university.
Her citation read: “We are very impressed by Sophie’s aspiration and determination and feel that she is an excellent role model for other students in the academy. We recommend her whole heartedly for this award.”
Mexborough School’s Alex James added his Freemen award to a list of subject and attendance awards and as the school’s Head Boy, he was praised for organising a variety of fundraising events, organising extra-curricular activities and his tribute described him as “hard working, determined and focussed and deserving of every success.”
Schools were asked to nominate pupils who have contributed to school and community life, given help to others, have enjoyed major academic success or have overcome difficulty.
The awards are organised by the Doncaster Freemen Group, an umbrella organisation for people given the freedom of the borough and whose ranks include Last Of The Summer Wine and Open All Hours writer Roy Clarke, Cancer Detection Trust fundraising stalwart Jeannette Fish, opera star Lesley Garrett and fairground boss Roger Tuby.
Full list of winners:
Ash Hill Academy, Hatfield – Thomas Byatt, Alice Reilly;
Armthorpe School – Iona Ginn, Will Tollerfield;
Balby Carr Community Sports and Science College – Thokozile Tembo, Jessica Carr;
Campsmount Technology College – Hollie Elison, Melissa Cocliff;
Danum Academy – Joe Fielding, Felicity Simpson;
De Warrene Academy, Conisbrough – Sophie Brammer, Callum Spratt;
Don Valley School and Performing Arts College – Mitchell Auberry, Lucie Piper;
Doncaster College – Amy Walken, Nathan Alick;
Hall Cross School – Dan Winmill, Emily Clendon;
Hayfield School Academy – Pippa Barker, Shaun Williams;
Hungerhill School – Clark Grainger, Melanie Wildey;
Mexborough School Specialist Science College – Emma Winstanley, Alex James;
Outwood Academy, Adwick – Tomas Simpson, Jade Nicholson;
Ridgewood School Specialist Engineering College – Melissa Blakemore, Thomas Hathaway;
Rossington All Saints C of E Aided School – Shauni Clingan, Georgia Trewick;
Sir Thomas Wharton Community College, Edlington – Mitchell Keates, Anna Starbuck;
Trinity Academy, Thorne – Ryan Amesbury, Mulongwe Mwelwa.