Paralympian Stephen Miller was guest speaker at Bede Academy’s annual sports awards dinner.
A RUGBY referee currently rising through the ranks has been recognised for his efforts by his academy and a gold medal winning Paralympian.
Joseph Orange, a sixth form student at Bede Academy, Blyth, was presented with the coveted Stannard Award, named after a winner of the Victoria Cross, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sport.
The 18-year-old was presented with his trophy by Team GB athlete Stephen Miller, who went to school in Blyth before going on to take gold in three consecutive Paralympic Games in the club throw discipline.
Joseph devotes his life to sport and is a level 1 referee allowing him to officiate over U16 rugby matches.
“It’s a great sport and while I enjoy playing I prefer to referee,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge as it is very technical and I hope to go for my level 2 when I am at university next year. I’m over the moon to win the award.”
Principal Gwyneth Evans said:
“This is a very special award that focuses on going above and beyond. Joseph has devoted a significant amount of time to refereeing and sport.”
Joseph plans to study criminology at Hull University and aims to join the police, after volunteering with them for the past four years.
He collected his accolade at the annual sports awards ceremony, which recognises the efforts of Bede Academy students in sports ranging from athletics, cricket and rounders to netball, hockey and rugby.
Guest of honour Mr Miller told students how with a positive mental attitude he had not allowed his cerebral palsy to be a barrier to what he wanted to do.
“My parents were fantastic and never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do which gave me the right mindset. I took part in my first Paralympics when I was just 16 and came back champion and the youngest ever GB gold medallist.
“You have to take responsibility for what you do; it’s your life and you can do anything you want to do. How you react to life is also important, to both the good days and the bad.”