The light at the end of the tunnel of perseverance

Worldwide Fruit chief executive officer Steve Maxwell.
Worldwide Fruit chief executive officer Steve Maxwell.

School doesn’t come easy for some students.

Whether it’s unexpected illness, family bereavement or personal disaster, education can be a child’s worse years as well as their best ones.

Worldwide Fruit operations director Neal Collishaw.

Worldwide Fruit operations director Neal Collishaw.

But there are young people who, through sheer hard work and a refusal to give up, achieve results above and beyond even the most optimistic expectations.

The Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards, in association with Duncan and Toplis Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, will be honouring one such student.

The Most Improved Student Award is for someone who has gone the extra mile to improve their academic performance through personal discipline and application.

Award-winning food producer Worldwide Fruit is sponsoring the award, just days after winning an award themselves from high street retailer Waitrose for championing British fruit.

In June, Worldwide Fruit was named as the Best Place to Work by the Fresh Produce Consortium, with its main factory in Wardentree Lane, Pinchbeck.

Chief executive officer Steve Maxwell said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Most Improved Student category at the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards.

“As a business, we are keen to employ young people and have an apprenticeship scheme running at the moment.

“We chose the Most Improved Student category as we feeel it is rewarding to recognise someone who may not find school and studying easy automatically.

“It is learning from mistakes which is important, rather than being naturally gifted.”

Free Press and Guardian reporters came across a number of students who achieved better than expected results, against the odds, on A-level and GSCE results day across schools in South Holland, Bourne, the Deepings and south of Boston.

For example, University Academy Holbeach student Nicole Hayes (16) left her mum Judy in tears with four A* amongst her GCSE grades in the summer.

Judy said: “I could cry for her because she’s worked so, so hard for these results.

“It just shows how, if you put the work in, you can really go somewhere and do something with your life.”

Coun Patricia Bradwell, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “These awards will showcase some of the best students who are not only excelling in their work but also proving an inspiration to others.”