Inspirational Ipswich gaming mentor says scooping BAFTA award 'feels incredible'
PUBLISHED: 17:39 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:43 09 July 2019
An inspirational Suffolk computing teacher who has helped gaming enthusiasts to turn their talent into careers has been rewarded with a top honour.
Matthew Applegate, founder of Creative Computing Club, joined gaming designers of the future at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) gaming awards event in Picadilly where he scooped the Mentor Award.
Mr Applegate, who operates across Ipswich and Suffolk, was nominated by the public for his work with young game designers.
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"It feels incredible to have won the award and it gives me a lot more power to go back to where I teach and tell students that gaming is a proper job and a real career they can get into," he said.
"Winning the award also means I can talk more confidently to parents, schools and local council to get them behind what we do."
Mr Applegate set up Creative Computing Club in 2012 and it now works with more than 300 young people every week across Suffolk, helping them to engage in technology-based sessions.
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Dr Jo Twist, chair of the games committee at BAFTA, said: "It is fantastic to see such a high calibre of games from upcoming creative talent being rewarded.
"It's been another great year for the competition, and with previous winners having gone on to be BAFTA nominated, I can't wait to see this year's winners go out and make their own mark on the industry."
In a written message, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of BAFTA, said: "This year the entries have an overwhelming social purpose to them, focusing on issues including mental health, climate change, conservation, disability, bereavement, and transgender rights.
"Many of the game ideas strive to educate players of all ages on the social issues they address, hoping to prompt real change in people's lives.
"I think it is fantastic to see young people using games to express themselves and purposes that they identify with."
Among the notable industry figures presenting the awards to winners were YouTuber Dean Dobbs, game developer and co-founder of Media Molecule Siobhan Reddy, and BAFTA Games vice president David Gardner. BAFTA-winning game designer Mike Bithell delivered the closing speech for the ceremony, praising the young designers' creativity and talent.