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Alton Close Primary School (part of Swindon Academy) is celebrating after Year 5 pupil Rhys Paolette, is named Young Hero of the Year at United Learning’s Best in Everyone Awards 2022, held at The Queens Hotel in Leeds on June 24th.

Each year the awards honour individuals, teams and departments from across the Group for the exceptional contributions they have made to school and community life. This includes recognition for standout academic successes, sporting and musical achievements, and commitment to leadership and service.

To take home this award, Rhys was selected by the judging panel from a range of inspiring nominees from across the country. In honour of his win, he was presented with an engraved glass award.

In mid-2020, Rhys was diagnosed with cancer and began undergoing treatment shortly after. Throughout this time, Rhys showed unparalleled resilience and determination in the face of any adversity. Whenever he was able, he asked to attend school in person and delighted in being back in the learning environment with his friends and teachers.

Since completing his treatment and returning to school this academic year, Rhys has gone from strength to strength. In his nomination, Rhys is described as having an “unrivalled commitment and determination to catch up academically.” He is also “kind and compassionate to others”, showing great generosity and humility.

Ruth Robinson, Executive Principal at Swindon Academy, said:

Rhys is an exceptional young boy who has displayed incredible resilience and heroism. This award is an excellent token to mark how much his positivity and courage has inspired all of us at Alton Close as well as the wider United Learning community. Equipped with such strength of character, I have no doubt that Rhys has a very bright future ahead of him.”

2022 marks the tenth year that the awards have been held and a return to an in-person ceremony following two years of virtual celebrations. Bespoke videos announcing the winners were also posted on United Learning’s Twitter account to coincide with the live event, giving over 10,000 peers, colleagues and family at home the opportunity to join in the celebrations.