Professional footballer returns to his Menston school to present award

(6848781)Tom Taiwo present St Mary's student, Francis Westhead, with his award

(6848781)Tom Taiwo present St Mary's student, Francis Westhead, with his award

First published in News

FORMER St Mary's School student Tom Taiwo returned to his old school to present an award for outstanding achievement in sport.

The Jamie Payne-Ross Award was presented at St. Mary’s, Menston on Tuesday, 3 June.

The Award is presented annually at the school in memory of Jamie Payne-Ross, who died in a tragic accident in December 1993. The Award is for outstanding achievement in sport for a Year 8 boy (12-13 year old) and was presented to the school by Jamie’s mother Colleen and elder brother Adam.

Previous presenters of the award include Sir Trevor Brooking, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and the Kaiser Chiefs.

The presenter of the award this year was past student Tom Taiwo, who became a professional footballer on leaving St. Mary’s. Initially at Leeds United, he moved to Chelsea whilst still at school.

Also whilst at school he was selected to play for the England U17 team. A broken leg at Chelsea restricted his opportunities and he joined Carlisle where he helped the Cumbrian side gain promotion in a Wembley final.

Last year he moved to Scottish Premier Side Hibernian.

Assistant Headteacher, David Geldart, said: "Tom was a wonderful role model whilst at St. Mary’s and has always kept in touch with the school since becoming a professional player. He had no hesitation in accepting the invite to present this prestigious award.”

The recipient of the Award this year is Francis Westhead.

Acting Faculty Leader of PE and Sport, Craig Thornton, said: "Francis is an outstanding pupil who always gives his best in PE lessons. He is an extremely talented runner and only last month he came first in the Leeds Schools Athletics Competition over 800m at South Leeds Stadium.

"Francis also competes over 1500m and runs in cross country competitions during the winter months. He is a talented footballer and is a prominent member of the Year 8 football team.

"He is not only an outstanding sportsman but his academic record is exemplary. He consistently demonstrates a highly caring nature towards both his peers and staff and is always willing to help in any way he can. An outstanding St. Mary’s student and a worthy winner of the Award.”

At this very moving and prestigious occasion, a piano performance was provided by Year 8 student Kathryn Bradley.

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