Dagenham student wins national award

Carole Stott of AoC�s with Vicky Knight and Joe Vinson from the National Union of Students at the aw

Carole Stott of AoC�s with Vicky Knight and Joe Vinson from the National Union of Students at the awards ceremony - Credit: Archant

Barking & Dagenham College student, Vicky Knight, 18, has been named Student of the Year by the Association of Colleges (AoC).

The competition honours the brightest and best students in England and recognises excellence in any academic, vocational or extra-curricular area. Winners must have made a significant contribution to college life or to their local community and have inspired others.

Vicky impressed judges with her hard work not just in her studies, but also in her determination to overcome her physical challenges.

Aged eight, Vicky was the victim of an arson attack at her family’s business and suffered 33% burns on her upper body and limited use of her hands; she has undergone 20 operations and suffered a lack of self-esteem as a result of her injuries.

Being in constant pain however has not stopped Vicky. Along with fellow students she launched Scar Quality, a charity which provides professional makeovers for burns victims to help boost their self-esteem. She has also raised £1,000 through a sponsored 28-mile walk and travelled to South Africa to meet burns victims in the townships.

Vicky said: “It’s amazing to win, I really can’t describe it. My scars are something I have to live with every day, but by setting up the charity I can help others. It was hard work, but it’s amazing.”

AoC President Michele Sutton, added: “This year’s nominations for the Association of Colleges Student of the Year Awards were of an exceptionally high standard and it is both humbling and heart-warming to see the impact that further education has on the lives of so many of its students. It is clear that Vicky has had to overcome significant personal and physical difficulties in order to continue her studies – and she has done this with aplomb. Her studies are earning her a distinction and she has still found the time to make a significant contribution to college life and has set up her own charity to help support burns victims and has raised funds to support this work. Her determination, spirit and motivation are truly inspiring.”