Dignitaries, successful students, teachers and parents recently descended on Abingdon & Witney College to celebrate the achievements of the brightest talents from across the county’s schools and colleges.


Lucy Group continues to support young engineers

The High Sheriff Engineering Awards – founded by our Chairman Richard Dick when he was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2009-2010 – were organised this year by a partnership of Lucy Group, The Engineering Trust and Abingdon & Witney College. The awards recognise outstanding young people in Oxfordshire who excel in Engineering, Design Technology or Resistant Materials.

Lady Sylvia Jay of Ewelme, the current High Sheriff for Oxfordshire, presented the awards, alongside fellow dignitaries including the Mayor of Faringdon Cllr Dr Mike Wise, the Mayor of Abingdon Cllr Charlie Birks and Cllr Margaret Crick, Chairman of the Vale of White Horse.

Richard Dick opened proceedings by pointing out that the UK needs 50,000 more trained engineers than it has currently and what great career opportunities this provides in the sector. He continued:

We live in exciting time for engineers with, for example, the challenges provided by the necessity of a low carbon environment – renewable energy and Smart Grids, Electric vehicles, Smart City Systems, all being opportunities for engineers and scientists. All of you who have won awards today have already shown you have the skills to potentially play a vital part in our changing world – and I’m sure you will.

Only about 12% of those currently engaged in engineering posts are female, so it’s particularly encouraging to have 20 % female entrants for these awards this year –well done Oxfordshire!

High Sheriff Awards 2019 - Attendees

Attendees on the night of the awards.


High quality nominations

There were more than 60 student nominations in the five categories, with the winners from these categories in the running for an Overall Winner award.

The schools and colleges represented on the night were:

  • St Birinus School
  • Burford School
  • Marlborough School
  • UTC Oxfordshire
  • Abingdon & Witney College
  • Chipping Norton School
  • Lord William’s School
  • Henley College
  • Abingdon School

Exciting prizes provided by Lucy Group included £1,000 for each winning student’s school, an iPad for each winning student and a mini iPad for each runner-up.

The list of categories and winners for this year’s High Sheriff Awards were:

  • 14-15yo Outstanding Student – Oliver Pickles, St Birinus
  • 14-15yo Outstanding Achievement – Daniel Green, St Birinus
  • 16-18yo Outstanding Student – Sanjit Raman, Lord William’s
  • 16-18yo Outstanding Achievement – Katie Blundell, Chipping Norton
  • Oxfordshire Young Female Engineer of the Future – Alexandra Winch, Henley College
  • Overall Winner – Katie Blundell

Overall the standard of entries was extremely high – the judges noted the exceptional work of all the finalists and the difficulty of selecting the winners.

High Sheriff Category Award Winners - Oxfordshire High Sheriff Award 2019

All five category winners with Lady Sylvia Jay of Ewelme, the current High Sheriff for Oxfordshire.


Overall Winner

The judging panel gave Katie Blundell the overall prize, citing that they were immediately impressed with the quality and design of her school project, with her teacher praising the creativity, complexity, quality and extremely high standard of the work she produced.  In addition the judges were impressed with the positive social implications of what she had produced – an aid for children with motor and balance issues.

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