Event to mark achievements over the year

SUSSEX Downs College held its sixth annual college awards at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne to honour and celebrate its outstanding students, staff and employers.

It was the last ceremony that Dr John Blake, principal and chief executive, introduced before his retirement.

He said it had been a great year for the college with 16,000 students gaining 40,000 qualifications.

He said, “This year, the college has again produced student success rates that place us in the top échelon of all FE colleges in England. Our success is due to the commitment, enthusiasm, and sheer hard work of students and staff alike. I am immensely proud to lead an organisation with this record.”

The awards evening also marked the close links the college has with employers whose partnership has produced significant benefits for learners.

The principal guest was Melanie Hunt, the incoming principal and chief executive of the college. Lynsey Bartlett was the guest presenter. She presents the breakfast show on Heart FM, and used to work at Sussex Downs.

Entertainment was provided by foundation degree dance students who are studying at Lewes 6th Form College and University of Brighton.

Dr Blake said, “I would like to thank warmly all our sponsors who have generously supported the awards. As this is my last opportunity to contribute to this event, I would like to thank all colleagues and corporation members, past and present, for all their hard work, commitment and support over many years. It has been a real pleasure to work with them in taking our college forward and making it the dynamic and successful organisation that it is today.”

The student prize winners were Hannah Harper, 19, from Eastbourne and a former Causeway Secondary School pupil, studying hairdressing at EVoC, Amy O’Sullivan, 18, who studied Further Maths, Computing and Physics at Park College, Chelsea Shere, 18, from Eastbourne, who is studying E2E at The Foyer, Peter Wagner, 19, who studied IT Practitioners National Diploma at EVoC, Hanna Burzynska, 26, who is studying Management Level 3 Apprenticeship and Level 4 NVQ, James Tate, 19, from Eastbourne and a former Cavendish School pupil who is studying Advanced Brickwork Apprenticeship at EVoC, Susan Leung, 18, from Lewes who is studying Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Physics at Lewes campus, Xabier Perez Lopez, known as Javi who is 32, from Barcelona, Spain, and studying English Language plus at Lewes campus, Lisa Dufton, 28 and from Seaford, who is studying IT Users Diploma at the Newhaven campus, Michael Barton, 16, from Peacehaven who studied Foundation Learner Construction at EVoC, Rachel Sandford, 25, from Newhaven who is studying English and Math Skills Improvement at Newhaven campus, Katie Mclean, 21, from Brighton who studied Foundation Degree in Music at EVoC and Claire Anderson, 18, from Uckfield who is studying the AS Level in PE at Lewes campus.

The staff prizewinners were Steve Miller, Raul San Emeterio, Beth Chesser, Mark Chutter, Angela Corke, Saffron Swansborough, Richard Coombs and Mark Allen.