Tributes for those who make Newham a better place

Scores of achieving youngsters from across Newham have been handed Jack Petchey Foundation awards.

In all, 137 students from 18 secondary schools were honoured at the annual presentation ceremony held at the Old Town Hall, Stratford.

The winners, aged 11-25, received medallions, certificates and a cheque for �200.

Ten adults were also given Leader Awards for demonstrating an ability to motivate young people. The Leader award winners received a medallion and a certificate.

The JPF Awards scheme provides funding of �34,600 each year for schools in Newham. So far youth organisations in the borough have received �4.1million since 1999.

Winners included Christopher Jayawardene, 17, from St Bonaventures RC School in Forest Gate.

Christopher has been actively involved in his faith community for many years and became a young leader who assists the employed youth worker. He is particularly keen on working with sick and elderly people and has assisted pilgrims in Lourdes since he was in Year 10.

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His grant award was spent on pancake making for Shrove Tuesday and payment for a motivational speaker to tell Year 10 students about the importance of the choices they make.

Baaba Branson, 15, from Kingsford Community School, Beckton, is an inspiration to many. Despite an illness, she has been very active and helpful in preparing and serving food during the numerous parents’ evenings at the school.

She also dedicates herself to working in the technology department and is in school until late most days making sure she meets her deadlines.

The grant award has been divided between the Technology Department, Child Development and Catering and to purchase resources for the extended day club at the school.

Tatiana Wheeler, 15, from Eastlea School, Canning Town, is a supportive member of Beam Alpha, helping and encouraging new students to settle in.

Tatiana has a lot of caring to do at home, with her young sister and sometimes a cousin.

Tatiana gives up her Saturdays to help at Black People’s Leukaemia Trust at Lewisham and is also a sports leader, helping out at primary schools, organising mini Olympics and other sports events.

She is a strong presence in mentoring, in particular supporting a younger student who had been getting into trouble in lessons.

She is a true ambassador for the school’s ethos. The grant award was spent on a huge Christmas party which was organised by Tatiana.

VIPs attending included East Ham MP Stephen Timms who helped present awards and appears in some of the pictures.

He said “Young people in Newham have a great deal to look forward to this year with changes around the Olympics opening up many new opportunities for the future.

“Jack Petchey’s consistent support for the achievements and aspiration for young people is giving many a flying start in life and making a big difference.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Jones, Borough Commander, also presented awards He said “It is a real privilege as a police officer to have an opportunity to recognise some wonderful achievements of talented young people in Newham.

“The Jack Petchey Foundation certainly knows how to celebrate.”

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