Caring teenager’s club fit for princess

Balby Carr Community Sports and Science College pupil Mary Louise Hamer has been awarded the Diana Award for her compassion and outstanding selfless contributions to the community. Our picture shows her receiving her award from Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, watched by Mary Firth, the college's year 11 community leader.
Balby Carr Community Sports and Science College pupil Mary Louise Hamer has been awarded the Diana Award for her compassion and outstanding selfless contributions to the community. Our picture shows her receiving her award from Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, watched by Mary Firth, the college's year 11 community leader.
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WORK helping younger pupils at her Doncaster school has won a teenager a top award.

Mary-Louise Hamer, aged 16, was handed a Diana Award by her MP Rosie Winterton at Balby Carr School, after she was nominated by staff at the school.

She set up the school’s Buddy Club - designed to help younger pupils at the school to support pupils who are feeling vulnerable at the school, such as bullying victims, or shy youngsters who don’t find it easy to make friends.

Mary-Louise, aged 16, of Sandford Road, Balby, set the club up in September 2009, and it has been helping Year 7 pupils ever since.

Teachers were so impressed with her work that they nominated her for one of the awards, which were set up in memory of Diana, the Princess of Wales, as a legacy to her belief in the power of young people to change the world.

English and media teacher Kathryn Page, who is among the teenager’s helpers at the club, said: “Mary-Louise has such a positive attitude. She is dyslexic, and has overcome things herself, and now works to help others.

“She is doing her GCSEs this year, but she has still taken time to help other people.

“I think she’s amazing. She is very modest and refused to take all the credit for the club, but she is really kind and helps these kids. We are all very proud of her.”

Her club focuses on drama and media to help pupils with their confidence.

One of the projects youngsters in the group have taken part in has been making their own film.

It is not only at school where Mary-Louise has made a mark on society.

She also raised hundreds of pounds towards the appeal to bring a pride of lions to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and has also supported the RSPCA in Bawtry.

Mary-Louise said she had decided to set up the club because she herself had been short of confidence when she first started at school.

She said: “I have been brought up to help other people and not just myself.

“I was very excited to win the awards but I feel it’s not just my award, it’s also for everyone around me.”

Mary-Louise was nominated by teacher Mary Firth, the head of Year 11 at the school.