The exceptional academic and community achievements of students from the University of Chester have been celebrated at this year’s Valedictory ceremony.
Held at St Thomas of Canterbury Church, near the University’s Parkgate Road Campus, the annual university service and prize giving saw a number of students recognised for their outstanding accomplishments academically, while others were recognised for their admirable voluntary work, sporting success, contributions to the community and University life.
Anthony Parker, the university’s Academic Secretary, said: “At Valedictory we celebrate and recognise the contributions our students make to every aspect of life, from academic achievements through to sporting prowess and community involvement.”
The Ede and Ravenscroft Award for Excellence was awarded to Andrew (Andy) Dolman-Bayley, who is a second year Community Policing and Criminal Investigation student, Amy Mahan, a first year Business Management and Leadership student and Holly Taylor-Holbrook, a first year Social Work student.
This prize recognises a student who has performed outstandingly outside of their academic subject.
Andy is a mature student and having served in the British Army between 2000 and 2010, he continues to serve in the Army Reserves.
He has established a charity, the Listening Out Loud Foundation, providing accommodation for those who are or at risk of homelessness, counselling to assist with psychological problems and addiction and support towards finding employment.
The charity supports offenders and Andy works with the Probation Office, attending meetings and visiting veterans in custody pre-release to assist in eliminating risks to themselves and the wider community and reduce re-offending.
He works with the veterans every day supporting with medical appointments, court appointments and children services.
Families have been reunited, preventing emotional trauma, addictions and rough sleeping.
This is in addition to fundraising and completing his degree course.
Amy is an exceptional ambassador for apprenticeships.
She has been a board member on the North-West Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network since February 2016 and is a champion for young people.
A Level 4 Degree Apprentice, she has participated in or led 90 career events, 30 assessment centres, 11 National Apprenticeship Service Events and delivered 40 presentations to students reaching over 5,000 young people.
This is above and beyond her normal work commitments.
Amy also organises community events such as IT Girls Allowed and Tech Awareness, providing young people with an insight into Technology.
Since 2013, Amy has placed over 300 students on work experience, raising aspirations for diverse groups.
Her community technology events have reached 3,000 students across the UK to date.
Amy also works with the charity, Age UK Cheshire East and started an event to provide Christmas celebrations in the local community for older people without friends or family locally.
She has run the Christmas Event for Age UK since December 2012 and more than 130 older people attend each year with her eldest guest aged 101.
Alongside this event, she fundraises money for the charity and has raised almost £10,000.
As well as her academic and practice based work and holding down a part time temporary job, Holly Taylor-Holbrook, Level 4 Social Work student, has volunteered with NYAS (The National Youth Advocacy Service) – a ‘rights-based’ charity which operates across England and Wales for children, young people and adults.
Holly is a voluntary independent visitor, taking young people out as part of a befriending service.
She volunteers in a community with high levels of unemployment and poverty and her voluntary work makes a difference to the community.
Holly has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the service and the young people she befriends within it and is training to become an advocate.
Other students were recognised for their volunteering work in the community.
James Bullen, a third year studying Geography and Natural Hazard Management, volunteered more than 340 hours for Chester Students’ Union Sports and Societies.
Hannah Cook, a third year studying Geography and Natural Hazard Management, volunteered more than 778 hours with the 48th Chester Scout Group, 14th Harrogate Scout Group and 3rd Upton Brownies.
She has also been involved with Tour de Yorkshire, STARs (Student Academic Representatives) and is a Geography ambassador.
Laura Davies, a second year Bio-veterinary Science student, has volunteered 373 hours with Bambelela Wildlife NPC and Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation and Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and EPIC Kids Project.
William Foster, a second year History student, volunteered 456 hours for Scope and is also Captain of the Anime Manga Society.
Rosina Pendrous, who is studying for a Master’s in Psychology, volunteered for more than 260 hours with Rethink Mental Illness, British Heart Foundation, PAPYRUS, and the University.
Rebecca Watson, a second year Animal Behaviour and Welfare student, volunteered more than 309 hours for Cancer Research UK and with N/a’an kusê Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia.
Jo Morison, Mentoring Project Officer at the University, said: “The Valedictory awards provide a fantastic opportunity to recognise some of the outstanding voluntary and community involvement that our students are engaged with, and we were thrilled to award so many worthy winners this year.”