Littlehampton student Beth de Claire has won the Diana Award for her work in the community.
Head girl at The Littlehampton Academy, Beth was nominated by the school chaplain, Paul Sanderson, under the category Diana Champion Volunteer.
She learned of her success in assembly and will receive her award in London on July 4.
“It was an honour and a complete surprise because I had no idea until assembly,” said Beth.
“I sat down as normal and did the usual thing with the head boy Paulo and then Paul our chaplain begins to talk about the Diana Award and how he had nominated a few people, he explained its rarity and how those lucky enough to get it have earned it.
“He then continued to say there is one girl in the school who has won the award and I come to the conclusion immediately that it must be a year nine who has achieved beyond imaginable. But as Paul reads he then finishes with ‘and this is our own head girl Beth de Claire’.”
The Diana Award is awarded to courageous, caring, compassionate young people, transforming the lives of others in the name of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Mr Sanderson said: “We at TLA are very proud of Beth and the many students who give up hours of their time to help others in the local, national and global community.
“It is a very prestigious award to get and I know Beth will build on this to continue to outwork our academy motto of ‘Life to the Full’ in all she does.”
Award holders receive specialised training to help them develop their own projects and are given the practical tools to work with other young people and teachers to kick start additional social action initiatives.
Academy principal Morgan Thomas said: “Beth has been a hardworking head girl, community volunteer and inspiring leader in trips to Uganda and Romania.
“She is a great role model and ambassador for the academy and deserves this award for all she has achieved.”
Beth said she was so shocked, it took her some time to process but she was proud to be able to represent the school.
“I was so proud to show people that it may have had some ups and downs but we are an amazing school and things we can do as individuals and as a whole is tremendous,” she added.
“Paul and another teacher, Mr Josephs, are my inspiration. They pour their heart and souls into their jobs and their families and they truly are amazing and what I want to grow up to be like also.
“My nan has always been my rock and has always no matter what supported me in every choice I make and she will always be like a best friend to me. Without these three amazing people I wouldn’t have ever done what I have done to be lucky enough to receive the award and for that I am forever grateful.
“But finally this award means a lot more to me than accepting it for what I have done. It means that the children I have taught in Romania and Uganda have given me more than I could have ever possibly given them and I will never forget them because they are the reason I love working with children so much and have such a passion to continue it.
“I am humbled to accept the award thankful for all those around me.”
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