Paralympic star inspires students at awards

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Top achievers at East Berkshire College were honoured by paralympic gold medal winner Jeanette Chippington at the College's annual Stand Out Awards Ceremony recently.

Former swimming champion, Jeanette was guest speaker at the prestigious event, which took place at the College's Windsor Campus in St Leonards Road.

The awards acknowledged the outstanding achievements of 67 students, aged 17-60, across both the Langley and Windsor campuses. Prizes were awarded for excellence, endeavour, achievement, service to the community and most promising student for each of the College's schools of study as well as an overall College learner of the year.

A delighted George Annan (19, from Slough), received the accolade of the College's most Outstanding Student 2012 and most promising student for Computing and ICT.

"I was so surprised when my name was called out," enthused George. "It is such an honour to win these awards. Since my childhood, computers have been my passion. Studying at College is helping me to gain the qualifications I need to become a computer engineer and build a career in the IT industry."

As well as shining academically, George gives up his own time to help his fellow students and, outside of college, works in care homes providing help for those in need.

Another winner was actor and former student David Gyasi, who won the coveted Alumni Award for his outstanding achievements since graduating in 1999 as well as his continued commitment to encouraging young talent through his visits to the College. His recent achievements include roles in The Dark Knight Rises, Doctor Who, the George Lucas blockbuster Red Tails and the Wachowski Siblings' epic film Cloud Atlas with Tom Hanks, which is due out in the UK next year.

"It is a great honour to be awarded in this way. My teachers at College were the first ones to tell me that I could go far if I put my mind to it. They were very supportive and it was really emotional to see them again after all this time. My philosophy is to make the most of every opportunity and to see each knock back in life as a golden opportunity to come back stronger."

Jeanette Chippington (from Maidenhead) also gave an inspiring speech, talking about the virus that left her disabled, her rigorous training programmes and the unwavering determination that ensured her success in the pool. Success that culminated in achieving medals at five consecutive Paralympic Games. If that wasn't enough, Jeanette has now swapped the pool for the open water and is training in paracanoe, with the hope of adding to her medal tally in Rio 2016.

"I believe it is really important to recognise people's achievements, so it is an honour to be asked to present these awards. You can either sit back and wish your life away or work hard and achieve your goals. These students have worked hard over the year and they should all be very proud of themselves."

Principal of East Berkshire College, Kate Webb, praised the students' achievements: "The awards evening is about recognising talent. We have over 7,500 learners enrolled at the college and this year's winners are an inspiration to us all."

The special evening event was attended by over 180 people including Councillor Christine Small, Mayor of Slough and Councillor Colin Rayner, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses available, call 0845 373 2500.


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