Robbie doing it for the kids with awards
A PRESENTATION evening at Robbie Williams's former school was extra special for five pupils who received personal greetings and awards from the superstar.
More than 100 students of St Margaret Ward Catholic School and Arts College in Tunstall, were honoured at the event in the Victoria Theatre last night. And a small group of teens were the first to collect accolades sent from the Los Angeles home of the Potteries' most famous son.
Robbie has created his own personal award to inspire teenagers to overcome problems and chase their dreams.
His mum Jan was at the presentation evening to award the inaugural certificates with his handwritten messages to the five nominees.
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She said: "Robbie had a lot of happy memories from his time at school. He was very sociable and the school nurtured his talent.
"He used to do a lot of amateur operatic performances and rehearsals outside of school and although he wasn't very academic, the head at the time realised he had a real talent and did all he could to help him.
"I'm very proud to be handing out the awards to the pupils this evening and I hope it will inspire them.
"They are troopers and it is easy to be good at things when everything in life is going well, but when you have a fight on your hands that's when it is more difficult."
Robbie's new award is for youngsters who face tough personal challenges during their academic lives.
Their battles could range from crises at home to coping with health problems.
The five nominees who managed to succeed against the odds, were Kathryn Pender-Cadman, Naomi Churchill, Laura Nuttall, Danielle Escritt and Charlotte Bakewell.
The overall winner was Laura Nuttall who showed great character to succeed in her GCSEs despite being in and out of hospital. She is now at college and is also studying for a history A-level.
She said: "I'm very proud and happy about the award and it's so special to have a it personally signed by Robbie Williams. He is a hero of mine."
Since his time at St Margaret Ward in the 1980s, Robbie has supported the development of both the school and its pupils.
He has helped fund specialist facilities for dance, drama and music and has supported a performing arts group for adults, which meets there.
A variety of other awards for outstanding academic and creative skills were given out on the night and the audience of staff, parents and friends were entertained with dance, drama and musical performances by the pupils.
The Editor-in-Chief of The Sentinel Mike Sassi, was guest speaker. He helped hand out the awards to the youngsters.
Mr Sassi praised the pupils' achievements and encouraged them to take a lead in building a brighter future for Stoke-on-Trent. He told the youngsters: "You are the future of this city and I am reliably informed our future is safe in your hands."
The Principal of St Margaret Ward Chris Smith, left, said: "It is not always possible to measure the spiritual, cultural and emotional development of the pupils – but what we can be sure of, is we are very proud of all our pupils.
"Who knows what the year ahead holds for us? However we have here a community which is committed to the values of The Gospel."