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The first in a series of award ceremonies happening across Vale Academy Trust primary schools has taken place at Millbrook Primary School in Grove. 

The Trust launched its Character and Citizenship Award scheme across its six primary schools last summer, with the support of community partners: the Ray Collins Charitable Trust, the Community of St Mary the Virgin, Thames Valley Police, Wantage Town Council and Williams Racing. The Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Mrs Marjorie Glasgow, B.E.M. is the scheme’s Patron.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage all pupils to recognise that they can positively influence their own lives and those of others around them, as demonstrated by Ray Collins, founder of the Ray Collins Charitable Trust, who presented 15 pupils with their Silver Awards at a special assembly.

Pupils listened attentively as Ray related his own story, starting with his school experiences and then going on to describe his motivation for starting the charity that has since helped thousands of local individuals and families experiencing the hardest of times.

Ray, a former King Alfred’s pupil, explained: “When our Trust was asked to be one of the partners of the Vale Academy Trusts Citizen Awards we were immensely proud to be involved.”

“Seeing first-hand the joy and pride on the pupils’ faces when receiving their awards was just wonderful and then hearing about what they had achieved in order to attain their awards was very uplifting. In line with what lies behind the award’s ethos it was lovely to see that kindness, caring, helping and encouraging others were at the heart of this.”  

“I also heard about children being courageous and being encouraged to step out of their comfort zones by giving talks to classmates, fundraising and joining clubs both in and outside of school. The self-confidence gained from these experiences will stay with them and benefit them throughout their lives. I look forward to presenting many more of these awards in the future”.

Hazel Pittard, the Vale Academy Trust’s Director of Education added: “I am thrilled to see the first of our pupils receiving their awards and delighted that Ray could be there to present them. Ray thoroughly endorsed the message that being kind and caring for your community is something that we value highly and is achievable by all. Pupils were utterly inspired by his life story and came away ‘buzzing’ with enthusiasm.”

Further award events will take place over coming weeks, with the next one happening at Wantage CE Primary when Wantage Mayor Jim Sibbald will be officiating.