A selective school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18. Day and Boarding

Cranbrook School - Respect Aspire Achieve

Two students awarded the Diana Award

We are excited to report that two Cranbrook School students, Adam Harrod in Year 13 and recent leaver Ben West, have been successful in their nominations for the prestigious 2019 Diana Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to society. Successful nominees must be able to demonstrate long-term acts of selflessness; create positive social change that benefits the wider community; and inspire others by being estimable leaders.

Adam’s contributions were viewed as truly inspirational to the judges. His kindness and passion for music has led him to spend countless hours behind the scenes; encouraging his peers to perform in many school shows – including Cranbrook’s annual musical highlights DanSing and Hairspray; organising charity concerts; and leading rehearsals of many house and school ensembles.  In the absence of the regular conductor, Adam stepped up to lead the school orchestra and through his exceptional leadership and motivational skills increased student participation from just over a dozen to in excess of 40 members! When music was unfortunately cut from the school provision two years ago, Adam took it upon himself to resurrect music groups in the school thereby providing opportunities for fellow students to perform. As a Cranbrook music scholar, Adam has always been there to offer his expertise and support whether it be for Cranbrook’s debut at last year’s Lord Mayor’s Show, writing the music for the school song for Cranbrook’s Quincentenary celebrations, or fundraising through house music events.  As a member of the Royal College of Music’s Junior Department since he was 10 years old, Adam has strived to share his passion for music with others in the hope that it will bring them as much enjoyment as it has to him. We at Cranbrook have benefited from his philosophy.

After he completes his A Levels, Adam wants to train as a doctor. He leads the ‘MedSoc’ group for other students interested in a career in medicine often giving presentations to the younger years, encouraging them to work hard and aim high.  When not helping and supporting Cranbrook students, Adam helps others in the wider community and has volunteered for the last two years at a local Dementia care home. Managers there say that: the residents enjoy his company; he takes the time to chat to each one; he is always kind and positive; he demonstrates great patience and compassion especially in what can often be a challenging environment.

Ben was nominated by his friends, who recognised his dedication to his mission: to raise awareness and provision for mental health and young people in schools. Following the tragic suicide of his brother Sam in January 2018, Ben has tirelessly campaigned for better awareness and provision in schools to help young people with mental health issues. Ben set up the Walk to Talk Project, which started as a group walk across Kent to the Houses of Parliament. They were met with a warm reception and a letter of acknowledgement by Prime Minister Teresa May, but Ben didn’t stop there. The Walk to Talk Project has since gained incredible momentum, with events taking place around the country and hundreds of participants taking part and raising money for the Sam West Foundation. Ben also set up a petition, Save Our Students, which has gained over 209,500 signatures and counting. This calls for the government to invest in mandatory mental health first aid training for teachers so that they are better equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to help many young people who are suffering much like Sam did. Ben’s work has had a positive impact on the wider community, with statistically more young people coming forward to take about mental health.

Ben is currently studying aeronautical engineering at Liverpool University, and during his time at Cranbrook he was a leading figure in the CCF and a senior cadet in his final year.

Both Adam and Ben are truly deserving of this award and all the staff here are immensely proud of their continued enthusiasm, dedication and humble demeanours.

Adam and Ben’s names will be included on the Diana Award Roll of Honour which will be published on Monday 1st July.

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