‘A promise is a promise’, award for student who made vow to dying wife

PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:20 01 October 2018

Gareth Palmer, winner of the Award for Exceptional Individual Performance with Andrew Barnes (Master of the Great Hospital) and Corrienne Peasgood (Principal, City College Norwich) Pic: JASON BYE.

Gareth Palmer, winner of the Award for Exceptional Individual Performance with Andrew Barnes (Master of the Great Hospital) and Corrienne Peasgood (Principal, City College Norwich) Pic: JASON BYE.


A ‘lovely, inspirational man’, who completed his further education course after his dying wife made him promise not to give it up, was one of the outstanding students honoured at City College Norwich’s annual awards.

City College Norwich’s 2018 Further Education Award winners. Pic: JASON BYE.City College Norwich’s 2018 Further Education Award winners. Pic: JASON BYE.

Gareth Palmer, who completed the Access to Higher Education: Engineering course was presented with the award for exceptional performance.

Mr Palmer, 42, from Great Ellingham, was looking after his wife Tania, who had a serious long-term illness, at the time he was doing his course.

She died in March, but had asked her husband to promise that he would complete his studies and go on to realise his ambition of working in aviation.

He is well on his way to doing that and is studying on the college’s Professional Aviation Engineering Practice degree, at the International Aviation Academy Norwich.

City College Norwich Principal Corrienne Peasgood addressing the winners and guests at the FE Awards held at the Great Hospital, Norwich. Pic: JASON BYECity College Norwich Principal Corrienne Peasgood addressing the winners and guests at the FE Awards held at the Great Hospital, Norwich. Pic: JASON BYE

He said: “Completing the Access course was a fairly easy task, because it was something I wanted and something Tania made me promise I would do. A promise is a promise. In theory she should be getting the limelight and this award.

“I have stayed friends with other members of the group from the course. It was nice to know that there were people with me as I was going through this.

“And staff at the college have been very, very good to me. The plan is to become a category B1 mechanical engineer to start with, and to get the avionics licence as well.

“When I can no longer work on aircraft engines it would be nice to come back to somewhere like the International Aviation Academy and pass on my knowledge to others entering the industry.”

The students were nominated for awards by their lecturers, with Mr Palmer’s lecturer describing him as “a lovely, inspirational man”, praising not only his determination through an extremely difficult period, but also his willingness to contribute and help others in the group.

Twenty-three outstanding students were honoured in the ceremony, with the awards reflecting the wide range of course offered by City College Norwich and Paston College.

Principal Corrienne Peasgood said: “These Further Education Awards are a celebration of incredible achievements and remarkable individual journeys made by our students.”

Award-winning film helps scoop outstanding contribution award

A teenager who made an award-winning documentary about transgender transition won the award for outstanding contribution to college life.

Amy Parrack, 18, from Blofield, completed the college’s University of the Arts London Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media.

As part of her Final Major Project, she produced a documentary film, My Authentic Self, telling the story of a transgender young person and her transition from male to female.

Amy’s outstanding film achieved a Level 4 Distinction and was praised by the external verifier as the best he had seen in 20 years of teaching and examining.

It was shown at the UAL Origins Creative Arts Festival at the OXO Tower in London, where it won an award.

She said: “The thing I enjoyed most about making the film was that it was just such a good and positive enriching experience.

“I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.”

From home schooling to college

A student who had previously been home educated won the outstanding student achievement award.

It was a major transition when Georgina Sunter, 17, from Taverham, joined the college’s Phoenix Insight course,

She said: “I was very anxious about it. It was quite a big step to go from being not in a school at all, to being in such as big college, but it was made really easy by all of the people and all of the teachers who were there to support me.

“It’s a really nice atmosphere.”

Her GCSE results in the summer included the highest grade (9) in chemistry and physics and a grade 8 in catering.

She is now studying A-levels in mathematics, physics and chemistry, with the Sixth Form Centre at City College Norwich and plans to go to university or embark on a degree apprenticeship in engineering.

City College Norwich’s Further Education Award Winners 2018

Outstanding Achievement at A Level - Maisie Barber

Outstanding Achievement at AS Level - Franky Sewter

Outstanding Student Progression in Supported Learning - Nicole Howes

Overcoming Barriers to Success in Pre-Employment Training - Cameron Marshall

Dedication and Progress in English - Ella Broom

Dedication and Progress in Maths - James Austen

Dedication and Hard Work in ESOL - Xhoana Zatoski

Outstanding Personal and Academic Progression in Phoenix Plus - Georgina Sunter

Oustanding Achievement in Construction - Lindsey Moon

Outstanding Achievement in Creative Arts - Amy Parrack

Outstanding Progress in Business and Retail - Joseph Hastings

Outstanding Effort in Engineering - Sammie Ashforth

Outstanding Achievement in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy - Aidan Hunn

Outstanding Commitment and Progression in Hospitality, Catering & Tourism - Harry Daisley

Outstanding Achievement in Health and Social Care and Childcare - Katherine Hockin

Outstanding Achievement in Sports and Public Services - Georgia Potter

Outstanding Achievement and Commitment in Access to Higher Education - Gareth Palmer

Outstanding Achievement and Commitment at Paston - Year 1 - Taryn Yarnell

Outstanding Achievement and Commitment at Paston - Year 2 - Thomas Nudd

Outstanding Achievement in Education and Training - Anne Brown

Outstanding Commitment and Achievement in Information Technology - Alejandro Montero

The Students’ Union Award for Enhancing the Student Experience - Emily Staley

The James Barr Memorial Award - Andrea Christmas-Arden

Award for Exceptional Performance – Gareth Palmer

The Governors’ Robert Walton Award for Outstanding Contribution to College Life – Amy Parrack

The Governors’ Award for Outstanding Student Achievement – Georgina Sunter

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