AN inspirational Menston student has been presented with a prestigious award for being an outstanding young leader.

Catherine Chattoe, Bambisanani Coordinator at St Mary’s, Menston, presented the Bambisanani leadership award to Eleanor Rock at the school’s annual Leavers Mass.

The Bambisanani Partnership Awards in memory of Sibonelo Magwaza are presented annually at Mnyakanya High School in South Africa and St Mary’s, Menston; the two founding schools of the Bambisanani Partnership, a multi-award-winning charity that uses the power of sport as a catalyst to promote education, health, global citizenship and leadership.

Sibonelo was an outstanding young leader from Mnyakanya School who had completed the Bambisanani Leadership with St Mary’s students in 2010. He sadly died a few months later. The award has a very special meaning and importance in both schools.

Ilkley Gazette: Eleanor Rock received the award from Catherine Chattoe Eleanor Rock received the award from Catherine Chattoe (Image: submitted)

Eleanor Rock travelled to South Africa as a member of the St Mary’s volunteer team last year and Catherine Chattoe, said: “Eleanor is indeed an outstanding leader who has demonstrated excellent leadership skills and commitment to the partnership. She made a remarkable impact in South Africa making many new friends that she still stays in contact with. Eleanor’s kindness and compassion always shines through; she does all that she does with a beautiful smile. She is an exceptional young person.”

Ilkley Gazette: Eleanor Rock in South Africa with Bayanda Gcabu Eleanor Rock in South Africa with Bayanda Gcabu (Image: submitted)

Whilst in South Africa last year, Eleanor made a strong friendship with the winner of the Sibonelo Magwaza Award at Mnyakanya School, Bayandu Gcabu. On hearing that Eleanor was to receive the award at St Mary’s, Bayandu forwarded a message which Mrs Chattoe read out at the presentation event.

The message said: "I wish to pass on my congratulations to my amazing friend. We became such good friends when they came to work at my school. I am happy that our friendship continues even when we are 6000 miles apart. They are my first friend from overseas. She helped me with many things and did not hesitate to support me when I was trying to teach tennis to my local primary school children.

"We shared everything together even eating our lunch. I learnt a lot from their kindness and discipline. We shared lots of information about our countries and I loved teaching them my Zulu language. Keep on doing good things my special friend. I am also working very hard at school. Please wait for me, I promise to come and visit you some day to see your country. This student has empowered the students at Mnyakanya High School to believe in themselves and to have and follow a dream.”

Members of the Bambisanani team commented that Eleanor and Bayandu were two exceptional young leaders who are an inspiration to others.

For further information about the Bambisanani Partnership see