OUTSTANDING work being done by school staff across Basingstoke and Deane has been celebrated.

The inaugural Basingstoke Gazette Education Awards took place at the Apollo Hotel on Friday night (July 13) with around 100 school staff, sponsors and Gazette staff attending to celebrate a huge array of achievements.

Invited guests were treated to drinks on arrival at the hotel and a two-course meal before the awards got underway in earnest.

Merv Rees, who is a trustee of Ark Cancer Centre Charity and a renowned liver surgeon based at Basingstoke Hospital, was the guest speaker for the evening, telling the audience of his experiences in education and his reflections on its value and the importance of good teachers.

On the night, Mr Rees said: “It is humbling to hear about all the inspiring teachers. Education has been a big part of my life since my youth. Education was the ticket to not go down the mines in my village in Wales. Education wasn’t easy for me, as I am dyslexic and was held back after school, but I worked hard.

“I’ve got to know the students at Manor Field Junior School, where I am astonished by their discipline. There, they have the Merv Rees Cup, for the student who tries the hardest.”

The ceremony itself was hosted by Gazette publisher Bill Browne who introduced each of the awards which were then presented to the winners by the sponsors of each prize.

After the presentation, video interviews were played with the award winners, where they spoke about their pride at being nominated, their approaches to the world of education and moments which sum up why they teach.

Mr Browne said: “It is a pleasure to be presenting these awards to these inspiring teachers.

“We had many nominations and it was difficult to pick between them all.”