Bunwell student receives university sporting award

A fundraising student PE teacher from Norfolk has been crowned the winner of an inaugural award designed to recognise an outstanding commitment to sport.

Joe O'Connor, 20, from Bunwell, near Attleborough, has become the first winner of the Steven Henly Award presented at a special ceremony at the University of Bedfordshire.

The third year BA Physical Education student won �500 and a trophy for his sporting achievements, which have included a bike ride from London to Paris to raise funds for Help for Heroes and the Engadin Skimarathon in Switzerland for the charity Equal Adventure.

He was presented with his prize by Bob and Zahra Henly, of Hadleigh in Suffolk, whose son's name adorns the trophy.

Steven was a former Bedford student who died of a rare form of cancer just a few weeks after his 21st birthday in July 2008.

Although he died before completing his BA Physical Education course, he was awarded a posthumous Diploma of Higher Education at that year's graduation ceremony in recognition of his outstanding ability and promise.

The purpose of the new award is to encourage the level of dedication to sport that Steven himself showed throughout his life.

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On receiving the trophy, Joe said: 'It's awesome and I'm really honoured to be the first winner of this award. It was great to meet Steven's parents and they're such a lovely family.

'I'll use the money to put towards the cost of my next fundraising event – possibly an expedition to the North or South Pole in the next couple of years.'