New Hall girl wins Diana Award

Twelve-year-old Chelmsford student Charley Spriggs has been awarded a prestigious Diana Award

The national award, named after Princess Diana, is presented to inspirational or socially active young people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others and their communities.

Teachers from New Hall School in Chelmsford – a Catholic independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 3-18 – nominated Charley for an ‘Active Campaigner’ award in recognition of her charity work.

Last year, Charley became one of the youngest ever people to take part in a successful attempt to swim the English Channel.  She was part of a six-swimmer team who completed the 21-mile feat in 12 hours and 15 minutes.

Charley was determined to complete the fund-raising challenge to raise money for Papworth Hospital after they treated her granddad for cancer. The minimum age for a young person to swim the channel as part of a team is 12 and Charley completed the challenge just days after her 12th birthday. She organised and led the team, which raised over £15, 500.

Charley Spriggs said: “When I first heard I had won the award, I screamed! I was amazed that my granddad’s inoperable lung cancer could lead to something so fantastic. I’m just so glad that he is still here, because without Papworth Hospital, he wouldn’t be. I just wanted to thank them, but it’s turned into something much more than that – mainly because I didn’t realise how challenging swimming the Channel would be!”

Katherine Jeffrey, principal of New Hall School, said: “We are delighted for Charley that she should receive this recognition for her charity endeavours. She has been an inspiration to her peers and the staff at New Hall.”

A spokesperson for the Diana Award said: “We were absolutely delighted to receive this nomination – it certainly had the wow factor!”

The award ceremony, which will be attended by Charley and Mrs Jeffrey, is being hosted by Barclays at Canary Wharf on Friday 28 February.

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