The exceptional academic and community achievements of students from the University of Chester were celebrated at this year’s valedictory ceremony.
Held on the university’s Parkgate Road campus in the city, the annual 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 winners of the Ede and Ravenscroft Award Prize for Excellence, which is awarded to students who have performed outstandingly outside their academic subject, were Rachael Lambe and Daniel McKenzie.
Rachael, who studies adult nursing at the Warrington campus, went for a meal in Warrington just before Christmas and was shocked by how many people were sleeping on the streets.
She decided to create ‘survival packs’ full of essentials such as hats, scarves, gloves, blankets, food, water, hygiene products and information on where to go to access hot meals over the Christmas period.
She worked on the project with colleagues to collect donations, contact the relevant agencies and safely plan and organise a night when they would hand out the packs. The goal was to make surviving winter on the streets just that little bit easier.
Rachel contacted the police to inform them of the event and carried out health and safety assessments as well as risk assessments to make sure nobody was at risk and all risks were managed appropriately.
Daniel, who studies community policing and criminal investigations, volunteers for the Cheshire Constabulary Special Constables for a average 105 hours a month – well over the minimum requirement of 16 hours a month.
He has made six arrests and has taken a number of witness and victim statements including an incident of a missing person with autism, where he used his interpersonal skills and personal experience to help calm the mother and provide guidance on autism, following his diagnosis of autism since attending university.
He has taken an active role in the police LGBT network, representing Cheshire Police at national conferences, and has been the LGBT representative while participating in Constable to Sergeant assessment panels.
Daniel also volunteers on the training team for the Warrington Police Cadets and provides support to his fellow students.
Five students received an Outstanding Contribution to Community Award:
Bethany Pennington, learning disability nursing - Bethany volunteers with Hosanna House and Children’s Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT) and Sports4all.
Daniel Bushell, psychology - Daniel volunteers with the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust (CWP), within the occupational therapy team and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Heather Carr, health and social care - Heather volunteers with Tomorrow’s Women Wirral. She previously volunteered with Age UK. She has also been involved with Peer Mentoring, StARs (Student Academic Representatives) and has been a student ambassador on campus.
Keith Terrill, games development - Keith volunteers with the Army Cadet Force (ACF).
Lauren Cooper, psychology - Lauren volunteers with PAPYRUS, the national charity for the prevention of young suicide and was the charity secretary for the Chester University Psychology Society (CUPS). She is also involved with the Chester University Time to Chat group.
Based at the Warrington campus, media student Rebecca Brown was awarded the department’s KM Herring Award, for making an outstanding contribution in the field of visual craft in 2017.
The award was made in recognition of work produced for her final major media project, which included four exhibitions of landscape and nature photography captured over the winter and spring months in the Lake District national park.
Rebecca’s project, the result of more than 6,000 miles’ travel and 2,500 images cut down to fewer than 20, explored the potential of landscape and nature photography as a treatment for sufferers of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Tommie Watts, who studies radio production with commercial music production, received the Hilary Tucker Prize, which is awarded to a student who has made the greatest contribution to the Warrington campus.
Tommie has been involved in lots of campus activities and, earlier this year, he organised and took part in a 24-hour radio broadcast, to raise more than £320 for Warrington’s RSCPA shelter. As a result of this mammoth ‘radiothon’, Tommie received a nomination for Best Outreach Project at the I Love Student Radio Awards.
Professor Tim Wheeler, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “We are so proud of all our prize winners and the achievements they have made both academically and out in the community.”