ST MARY’S, Menston is delighted to announce that fourteen of their past students have been honoured with a Diana Award.

Oliver Armitage, Joanna Ciesluk, Amy Collins, Aidan Conlon, Leah Delahay, Jayda Etienne, Christopher Ginty, Ben Hings, Sophia Lenik, Megan Lupton, Sean Moorby, Ryan Smith, Amelia Walsh and Elizabeth Westhead were awarded the Diana Champion Volunteer Award for their work in South Africa as part of the Bambisanani Partnership.

The students visited the country during the summer of 2016 and were responsible for mentoring young leaders from Mnyakanya High School through the Bambisanani Leadership Award. In addition, they also taught at the school and together with Mnyakanya students, were responsible for organising community reading and sports festivals. The St Mary’s students also worked at Ntolwane Primary School and Zulufadder Orphanage.

The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action. Award holders change the lives of others whether they are a volunteer, fundraiser, carer, campaigner or Anti-Bullying mentor.

Six members of the group were presented with their award at a prestigious ceremony held at the Leeds College of Music. The Award was presented by musician Danny Jones, Paralympic Gold Medallist Hannah Cockroft MBE and the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. The St Mary’s contingent were accompanied by Mr Tom Pringle, who also took part in the South Africa 2016 visit and Mrs Catherine Chattoe, Bambisanani Coordinator at St Mary’s, Menston.

Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award said: “These awards come in a landmark year for the Diana Award as we join the world to mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana. At the Diana Award we understand that valuing young people also means investing in them so we are delighted that these Award recipients will have access to our unique development programme that ensures they continue to be positive trailblazers for their generation.”

Danny Jones said: "I am really excited to meet such an inspirational group of young people, especially being so close to home. It’s an amazing way to give recognition to these incredibly special people and to hear their stories. It makes me proud to be northern. They are true heroes.”

Catherine Chattoe, Bambisanani Coordinator at St. Mary’s said: "“We at St. Mary’s are extremely proud of our students. They are exceptional young people who through kindness, compassion and service, have had a monumental impact on society and the lives of people living on one of South Africa’s poorest rural areas.”