The achievements of hundreds of Hartpury students were celebrated at the college’s annual Further Education Prize Day yesterday.
They were joined by parents, Hartpury staff and governors and VIP guests for the ceremony, with all students receiving a certificate for successfully completing their courses and those with outstanding achievement in their area being awarded prizes.
Edward Gillespie, the celebrated former managing director of Cheltenham Racecourse and now chairman of Cheltenham Music Festival 2014, was the guest speaker at the morning ceremony for Agriculture and Game, Animal Management, Equine, Access to Higher Education and Foundation Studies students.
Joe Hancock, 19, who has completed the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Land-based Technology, was the winner of the JP Terry prize for the Top Student in Agriculture. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed my two years at Hartpury, especially as the group we had on my course were so tight-knit. I came to Hartpury because the facilities were so much better than my local college, and I’ve loved the social life and the practical elements of my course. I’ve always been happiest getting oil under my fingernails!
“I’m off to Scotland in a few weeks for harvest work and I’ll be there until around November. I come from a farming background in South Wales, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and I’m really looking forward to a new challenge.”
Steve Gunn, who heads up the Great Britain Rowing Team Start programme and coached Greg and Jonny Searle to an Olympic gold medal in 1992, was guest speaker for the afternoon ceremony, which recognised the achievements of students in Sport, Outdoor Adventure and Uniformed Public Services.
Lucy Windsor, 18, a Sports Coaching student, won the Glos NFU Perpetual Trophy for the Top Student of the Year and the Buck Cup for the Top Level 3 Extended Diploma Sport student.
Academically, she achieved distinctions in every one of the 19 BTEC modules and achieved a D*D*D* and her coaching and leadership in the community, working with primary and secondary schools and young people with Special Educational Needs, have been outstanding.
A Hartpury ‘Young Ambassador’ and ‘Young Tutor’, Lucy has also been a shining light in the college’s ‘Leadership Academy, supporting Year Nine pupils from schools in the Forest of Dean to become better coaches and leaders. She also umpires club and Under-18s school hockey matches, coaches hockey to an Under-16s team and has coached Hartpury’s mixed FE and HE hockey team.
She said: “It was a massive shock winning the top student prize but I’m really pleased. I’ve had such fantastic support at Hartpury from my lecturers and tutor. They know so much and have helped me in so many ways.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I came to Hartpury but the experiences I’ve had mean I now know I want to teach and I’m going to university to do a B Ed in Secondary Education. I’ve had some great feedback from my work placements and from coaching secondary and primary pupils but the best thing is seeing the children smile and knowing you’ve played a part in that.”
Joe Batley, the England Under-18s captain who also skippered Hartpury to their fifth successive RFU AASE National Colleges Championship this season, was the winner of the Ian Waterhouse Cup for the Sports Person of the Year and the winner of the Bob Osborne Trophy for the Rugby Academy Player of the Year.
Having recently signed a new contract with Gloucester Academy, he will now combine his rugby with a part-time university course at Hartpury, where he will also continue to play in the BUCS and Hartpury RFC teams.
Hartpury Principal, Russell Marchant, said: “I am now in my second year as Principal and one thing has not changed since my very first day - my pride in seeing how committed and dedicated our students and staff are.
“When you become a student at Hartpury you become part of something bigger, part of our history and also a part of our future. How we support our students to be successful in their adult lives is just as important as grades and qualifications.
“It never fails to impress me that we have so many highly motivated young people here who have such a clear focus on setting goals and reaching them. I would like to congratulate all of our students and wish them good luck in their careers and study.”