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Newham College students honoured at Shining Stars awards

PUBLISHED: 13:46 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:46 28 June 2019

Winners of Newham College's Shining Stars awards on stage. Picture: MICHAEL ADKINS

Winners of Newham College's Shining Stars awards on stage. Picture: MICHAEL ADKINS

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Achievements of students at Newham College were recognised during a special evening with inspirational talks by The Chase's Dark Destroyer Shaun Wallace, maths guru Bobby Seagull and designer Dame Zandra Rhodes.

London Group Editor Michael Adkins and Shaun Wallace, the Dark Destroyer from TV show The Chase at Newham College's East Ham campus for the Shining Stars awards evening. Picture: ELAINE ALLENLondon Group Editor Michael Adkins and Shaun Wallace, the Dark Destroyer from TV show The Chase at Newham College's East Ham campus for the Shining Stars awards evening. Picture: ELAINE ALLEN

The Shining Stars ceremony, held at the East Ham campus, kicked off yesterday night with a catwalk performance by fashion and textile students before 16 awards were presented to students and a staff member by regular hosts Andrew Mitchell and six-time Olympian Tessa Sanderson CBE.

The award evening doubles up as a fundraiser for the Learning Revolution Trust (LRT), an organisation set up to offer bursuries and hardship grants to make sure students suffering financial problems are able to continue in education.

Zoe Benwell, a digital marketing apprentice level 3, was up first for winning the College Achievement of the Year Award, sponsored by the Newham Recorder. She was praised for her "outstanding commitment" after growing in confidence and making a mark within a media agency.

And although all 16 categories were keenly contested and cheered, guest speakers added to the evening with inspiring speeches and a pub-style quiz set to test Shaun Wallace and Bobby Seagull, a former city trader turned University Challenge star and school teacher.

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Mr Wallace, who is now training to become a barrister, told the students: "When you despair and are despondent, when you face adversity and disappointment you grow. You must always remember you don't give up because, for all of you tonight, your future is not behind you it's in front of you."

And referring to his rise to fame on TV show The Chase, he added: "I'm proud, fortunate and privileged to do what I have done. But with fame comes a responsibility to inspire the next generation. Education can be your springboard. Your mind needs information to expand. I'm training to become a barrister so I'm continually working and learning."

East Ham resident and Little Ilford teacher Bobby Seagull explained how he turned his back on a high-earning career in the City to become a teacher. "I came to realise the impact on other people that I could have through teaching was more important than money.

"Grit is passion and perseverance and that's what you need to succeed."

Paul Stephen, Newham College principal and chief executive, highlighted the college's "mission" to help students get great jobs and praised a host of new initiatives including plans for a Skills Hub partnership with Barts NHS Trust.

The Learning Revolution Trust, which has helped 650 students since it launched, raised a staggering £57,419 to help students suffering hardship, the most since its formation in 2012. Martin Cumella, chair of governors, said it would help students "pursue their dreams and achieve their potential."

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