TEN students from Ellesmere Port and Neston have been given awards from the Fred Venables Higher Education Trust to help them meet the costs of higher education.

The trust, funded by Stanlow-based Essar Oil (UK) Limited, was set up to celebrate the unique contribution made to the borough by the late Fred Venables, a councillor for 57 years and council leader for 39 years, who died in 2006 aged 82.

Cllr Venables was passionate that more young people should have the chance of studying for a degree, regardless of their financial situation.

He was a chemist at Stanlow and, in recognition of his achievements, his employer Shell gave a commitment to finance awards for young people who wished to study science or other subjects.

Every year the Fred Venables Higher Education Trust gives grants to sixth formers heading to university, now funded by Essar Oil.

At a ceremony at Whitby High School, Ed Brady of Essar Oil presented the students with £500 each.

Cheshire West and Chester Council succeeded Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council as custodian trustee of the trust and provides officer support on the charity’s administration.

The current trustees of the Fred Venables Trust are Essar Oil’s Ed Brady, University of Chester professor David Cracknell and former Cheshire head teacher Alan Sieber with administrative support from Neston High School and Cheshire West and Chester Council.