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15 March 2013, 16:01 | Updated: 15 March 2013, 16:05
Bedfordshire-based student, Wayne Instrell of Bedford Academy has today been named the Sky Sports Living for Sport Student of the Year 2012.
He received the accolade after being named East of England Regional Winner in a shortlisting process.
Sky Sports Living for Sport, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, is a free UK-wide initiative that uses sport stars and sport skills to improve the lives of thousands of 11-16 year olds.
Joining 11 other student regional winners from across the UK at the prestigious UK awards ceremony held earlier today at Sky Studios in London, Wayne received his trophy from Sky Sports Living for Sport ambassadors, Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis CBE and sprint legend Darren Campbell MBE.
The Awards, which recognise the efforts of students and teachers during 2011-12, have two categories: Student of the Year and Teacher of the Year. They celebrate the successful way secondary schools are using sport to inspire young people, thanks to their involvement in Sky Sports Living for Sport, a free initiative delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust.
With nominations rolling in from schools across the UK, Wayne stood out as a clear winner. His story demonstrated how Sky Sports Living for Sport, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, has helped him build his life skills and apply lessons learnt through sport to situations in school and everyday life.
Wayne was chosen as the Student of the Year because of the transformation in his behavior. Wayne was having difficulty in school was no longer participating in mainstream lessons due to bullying and was struggling emotionally due to the sudden death of his father. Wayne volunteered for the swimming project despite not being able to swim, and he worked incredibly hard so that, by the end of the 10 weeks, he was able to swim a width of the pool.
Since participating in the project, Wayne has returned full time to mainstream lessons and is no longer afraid to contribute in class. He has also increased the amount of extracurricular activities he takes part in and volunteers his time to the school’s sports leaders.
Darren Campbell commented: “My heartfelt congratulations to Wayne, his story stood out as a shining example of the power of sport to change lives and he is an extremely worthy winner. In my role as ambassador I have seen firsthand how much of an impact Sky Sports Living for Sport is having on young people throughout the UK. It’s fantastic to hear how students’ attitudes, like Wayne’s can be shifted towards both sport and education and to see them collect their well deserved awards today.”
As the UK’s overall winner, Wayne will receive a £100 sports voucher and his school will also receive an extra visit from an Athlete Mentor and £2,000 towards their school’s next Sky Sports Living for Sport project.