Top award for talented and awareness-raising student

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hands the award to George Hunter.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hands the award to George Hunter.

A Ponteland teenager has been given a prestigious accolade in recognition of his academic success, voluntary work and efforts to get people talking about an important issue.

George Hunter, who is school president at Ponteland High and has achieved top class results in a wide range of subjects, received the annual Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize from Education Secretary Nicky Morgan during a ceremony at King’s College in London.

He was the fourth winner of the annual award open to high-achieving youngsters across the North East aged between 16 and 18 who have made positive civic contributions, often in their spare time.

The 18-year-old launched his My Tie Diary campaign in September 2014, which involved wearing a different tie for every day of the school year.

He received a plethora of donated ties from staff and pupils at his school and members of the public, including a few celebrities and high-profile sporting stars.

Many of the donated ties were given to a WI craft group and members made them into items that were sold at fairs and events to help with his fund-raising for good causes, including national mental health charity Mind.

George, a St John’s Ambulance volunteer, has also found the time to run a series of Mandarin classes for Year 9 pupils at Pont High following on from his victory in HSBC British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition.

He said he was delighted to receive the Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize.

“I am passionate for young people to be supported and educated at school on mental health and well-being, and I want to use this prize to promote this,” he added.

“When young people are properly supported, they cope better, learn better, and become more resilient.

“I will continue to encourage others to learn increasingly important languages, such as Mandarin.”

George can choose to undertake a two-day work experience programme at the Department for Education’s central London offices as a result of getting this award.

Mrs Morgan said: “George’s outstanding academic achievements and willingness to serve his wider community in various ways made him an incredibly deserving winner.

“I was delighted to meet George and to present him with the Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize. Both he and the runners-up deserve great credit for what they have achieved and I have no doubt they will go on to great things in the future.”