College award ceremony last night

DOZENS of students have been honoured at a ceremony in Bury St Edmunds.

DOZENS of students have been honoured at a ceremony in Bury St Edmunds.

Prizewinners from West Suffolk College received their trophies at St Edmundsbury Cathedral last night.

College principal Dr Ann Williams said that at a time of “so much bad news, doom and gloom”, it was good to share the significant achievements of students and staff.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was Godfrey Spanner, chief executive officer of Onslow Suffolk, the company behind plans for the Snoasis winter sports complex at Great Blakenham.

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He said that the complex, scheduled to open in 2013, subject to planning permission, would have a place for every skill represented at the ceremony.

Students who won awards included Gregory Hannam, from Bury St Edmunds, the East Anglian Daily Time Business Student of the Year.

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He gained a BTEC National Diploma in Business marketing with two distinctions and a merit, and will be studying business law at Nottingham Trent University from September.

Other winners included Christopher Pattle, 42, the Thurston adult learner of the year. Christopher has overcome visual impairment to achieve City & Guilds e-Quals qualifications in word processing and IT principles at the college's Thurston Learning Centre.

Single mother-of-five Sara Newell, 41, won the Access to Higher Education (Humanities and Social Sciences) prize.

One of Sara's daughters has learning difficulties and epilepsy and requires constant attention. Sara is also dyslexic.

“Sara walked out of school at 16-years-old feeling she was a failure, that there was no point and that nobody cared anyway,” guests at the ceremony were told.

“It has been a huge step for her to come back into education but, having done so, she has managed to juggle her often fraught home life with attending college.”

Tutor Mary Clements said: “Sara's remarkable progress and success on the access course is down to her hard work and her ability to listen and take on board constructive criticism.”

In September, Sara will be enrolling on the combined History/English degree at University Campus Suffolk Bury St Edmunds.

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