Meet some of Newham’s inspirational Jack Petchey achievement award winners

PUBLISHED: 14:04 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:04 23 September 2019

St Bonaventure's pupil James Appiah. Picture: JPF

St Bonaventure's pupil James Appiah. Picture: JPF


A teenager who survived a hurricane and a carer who looks after his mum are among the young people set to be recognised at the Jack Petchey Foundation’s achievement awards.

Jack Petchey Award winner Ilyan Benamor. Picture: Robert ClarkJack Petchey Award winner Ilyan Benamor. Picture: Robert Clark

Youngsters from secondary schools and colleges across Newham are due to receive their medals during two ceremonies, held at Kingsford Community School on Monday, September 23 and Tuesday, September 24.

The awards recognise 11 to 25-year-olds who have gone above and beyond to achieve, and in addition to their medals, youngsters also receive a certificate and £250 to spend in a way they choose, as long as it benefits their school or classmates somehow.

Among the winners is Chobham Academy pupil Charity Rymer, who was caught up in the deadly Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Since then, she has been working with charities to raise money for a damaged school in her home country, the British Virgin Islands, and has given a speech at school about life in the Caribbean.

Brampton Manor Academy pupil Peter Angelov. Picture: JPFBrampton Manor Academy pupil Peter Angelov. Picture: JPF

The 14-year-old said: "Receiving this Jack Petchey award has been an honour and I'm very grateful to have been recognised for my achievements and that I've hopefully spread awareness about my country and even shed light on other countries that have been affected by hurricanes."

Forest Gate Community School pupil Ilyan Benamor is a carer for his mum, who suffers from a neurological disorder.

The 12-year-old cooks and cleans, and also makes sure his mum has her medication - and despite the challenges he is doing well with his studies.

He said: "I was in a struggling situation yet the help that Forest Gate Community School gave me was amazing and helped me and my disabled mum get our lives back together."

Little Ilford School pupil Shouvik Roy. Picture: JPFLittle Ilford School pupil Shouvik Roy. Picture: JPF

Fellow Forest Gate pupil Egzon Topojani was nominated for making great progress and regularly going above and beyond with his learning.

Teachers who recognised his hard work have made him a student councillor, meaning he now helps younger pupils going on a similar journey to his.

The 15-year-old said: "My teachers at Forest Gate School have inspired me to want to be a teacher and I am very grateful to Jack Petchey for recognising my growth as a leader."

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For Kingsford Community School pupil Kiran Sajeev, it is his talent in Mandarin that has helped him to win a Jack Petchey award.

The 12-year-old has represented the school in two national language competitions, coming first in one and fourth in another.

He said: "I believe that this award is excellent for encouraging young people to do their best for themselves and the community."

Little Ilford School pupil Shouvik Roy benefitted from his school's hardship fund, which helped the 13-year-old continue to travel to school when circumstances meant his family had to relocate to Tilbury.

Jack Petchey Award winner Egzon Topojani. Picture: Robert ClarkJack Petchey Award winner Egzon Topojani. Picture: Robert Clark

Despite the challenges, he attended school every day and worked hard, and now that he is back in east London again, wants to donate his grant money to the fund to help other pupils in a similar situation.

Rokeby School pupil Sebastian Rosu was recognised for his commitment to the school gardening team.

The 12-year-old was praised as a "fantastic role model" and has raised more than £100 from plant sales to benefit Rokeby's partner school in Cambodia.

Eleven-year-old Keisha-Pink Stevenson has represented Sarah Bonnell School in a borough-wide competition, where she took third place.

She attends many extra-curricular sports clubs, often helping to set out the equipment and lead warm-ups.

Fellow athlete Peter Angelov, 14, was recognised for his dedication to football. The Brampton Manor Academy pupil has played for for Southampton and Norwich but despite that, has never missed a school match or training 

St Bonaventure's head boy James Appiah was nominated for his work with various community organisations, including the East London Citizens Organisation (Telco) and the Youth Commission. The 17-year-old also runs a debate club.

Sarah Bonnell senior prefect Avneet Narula has been recognised for playing a significant role in supporting the school outside of lessons.

The 16-year-old has led the 'big sister' programme which helps Year 7 pupils to settle in by providing them with a Year 11 mentor - something which her school says will "leave a lasting legacy".

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