A TALENTED teenager from the North East has become the first recipient of a prize given in the name of a much-loved politician from the region who championed education throughout his career.
Natasha Comber has been awarded the inaugural Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize, given to commemorate the former Newcastle MP and Deputy Prime Minister who went on to become Chancellor of Northumbria University.
Sixteen-year-old Natasha, who attends Astley Community High School in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, was presented with the award by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Lord Glenamara – Ted Short – qualified as a teacher in Durham before becoming MP for Newcastle Central in 1951 and the first Chancellor of Northumbria in 1992.
In 1968 he was appointed Education Secretary in Harold Wilson’s Government, a post he continued to shadow in Opposition.
The Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize was established to reward academic performance, citizenship and an interest in history, politics, or public service from young people in the North East.
Natasha was presented with a trophy and a certificate, and will also have the opportunity to carry out work experience at the Department for Education.
Presenting the prize, Mr Gove said: “I’d like to congratulate Natasha for being the very worthy winner of the first Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize.
“Natasha demonstrates real drive and determination to succeed in her studies. At just 16 years of age she is a very active member of her community, mentoring other young people and representing them at the Northumberland Youth Cabinet.
“The Memorial Prize in honour of Lord Glenamara will allow us celebrate the achievements, energy and ambition of young people.”
Natasha Comber, from Astley Community High School, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, said: “I am really proud to be the first ever winner of the Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize and to have this opportunity to meet everyone.
“I am looking forward to talking to Lord Glenamara’s family to find out more about the man who inspired my prize.”
Natasha was nominated by the school’s head of Year 11, Francesca Gannon, in recognition of her academic achievements and commitment to the local community.
Miss Gannon said: “Natasha is a driven and enthusiastic young woman, she has shown from a very young age what it means to have civic duty and how to contribute to society, as well as being on target to excel in all her GCSE subjects.”
Headteacher John Barnes added: “She is a wonderful young lady who always gives of her best. It is a pleasure to have her in the school, and she represents all that we want Astley students to be. The wonderful thing is that so many of our students also give to the school and the community.
“I have no doubt that she will be really embarrassed by all the attention, for that is the type of young lady she is, but she deserves the praise because she is a credit to her family, the school, the local community but most importantly to herself.”