West was best at the 2018 Golden Apple Awards.

Half of the awards went to heroes and champions across west Cumbria - including a hat-trick for Energy Coast UTC at Lillyhall.
The highly-sought titles of best early years provider, best primary school, best secondary school, and best further education provider also went to west Cumbrian winners.

It was an emotional evening for the Energy Coast UTC team, in particular the family of the late Jo Burleigh.

Jo, who died in June following a brave battle with cancer, was named winner of the Best Support Staff category.

Judges described her as 'clearly a much loved and much valued member of the team'.

Jo had been office manager and PA to the principal since the UTC opened. She continued to work, despite her illness and through treatment.
The late Jo Burleigh

Her husband Chris, grown-up sons Darryl and Stuart and daughter-in-law Susie went up on stage to collect the award.

As tears welled in his eyes, Chris, Jo's husband of 37 years, said: "It is still so raw. We only lost Jo three months ago.

"She would have been so honoured to receive it but she would've also been rooting for the other finalists instead of herself. She always put others first."

Jo had bravely endured chemotherapy and radiotherapy battling breast cancer.

After a short period of recovery, Jo later fell ill and it was found the cancer had spread to other parts of her body.

Proud son Darryl said: "We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support from everyone and so very proud of Mum. Her legacy will live on."

Principal Cherry Tingle, who was named best education and learning leader, described Jo as 'the heart of the UTC'.
She added: "Jo came in every day with a smile on her face."

In a two-minute video screened after the win was announced, Ms Tingle said: "It is dimmer here without Jo's light."

The UTC's director of learning for English and maths Kerryann Wilson, who had worked alongside Jo Burleigh at Workington's former Stainburn School before they switch to the Energy Coast school, won the Best Teaching Professional award.

The winners of 20 categories were recognised on Friday night in Cumbria's premier awards evening for local education, training and skills sectors.

The awards were staged by Newsquest Cumbria, publisher of the News & Star, and brought in partnership with the Centre of Nuclear Excellence and University of Cumbria.

Netherhall School in Maryport has topped off its tremendous turnaround of fortunes by landed the sought-after title of Best Secondary School.

It went from being a failing school to being judged as 'good' by Ofsted inspectors in record time.

It is also one of very few schools across the whole country to win the right to have an order turning it into an academy revoked such has been the speed and strength of its transformation and the capacity of the school to improve further.

Headteacher David Tromans said: "We are just so delighted for Maryport - the community, the children, staff, parents and the governors."

The 350 pupils of Fairfield Primary School, Cockermouth, are also likely to be a tad excited today, its headteacher Chris Steele revealed.

He said: "It has been a fantastic year for Fairfield Primary School with lots of amazing achievements and a lovely Ofsted visit.

"This [award] really recognises all of that and the amazing work of our staff and the children.

"It would have been very difficult to go into assembly on Monday morning without this. They have all been very excited about us coming here and being in the final. Now I can tell them that they go to the best primary school in Cumbria."

Some of the biggest cheers to fill the room came when Lakes College, which has around 4,500 students, was named Best Further Education Provider.

Principal Chris Nattrass said: "It's fantastic. Everyone has worked really hard to make sure students get the best things we can provide. We also do this every day quietly, get on and concentrate on what we do so it is nice for us all to gather and celebrate what goes on here in Cumbria."

In a clean sweep, Lamplugh CE School and Nursery was named Best Early Years Provider.

Elsewhere, teenagers from the 'We Will' scheme at the Ewanrigg Local Trust in Maryport were honoured for their initiative to help improve the mental health of local young people.

Their efforts won the group, which has around 20 young people aged 14-18, the award for Best Community Initiative.

Group spokeswoman Jasmine Dean, 17, of Cockermouth said: "We really want to change lives of young people in Cumbria."

Staff from Ward 4 of the West Cumberland Hospital and local tissue viability nurses won the Best Employee Development Programme for their hugely successful efforts to reduce the number of bed sores among patients in the Whitehaven hospital.

More work-based learning was also recognised when trainee welder Conor Alexander, from Lakes College, was one of the two winners in the Best Apprentice category.

Friday's glittering awards evening kicked off with a drinks reception for the 200 invited guests who gathered at Carlisle Racecourse on Friday.

Children from Razzamataz Carlisle performed 'A Million Dreams' and 'This is Me' from blockbuster movie The Greatest Showman before 22 tables of finalists, sponsors and guests enjoyed a three-course meal.

After dinner, former broadcaster Julie Clayton, in her role as host, took the crowd through the 20 categories and finalists.

Sponsors' representatives and winners were invited on stage for presentations.

Cheers and applause filled the air for more than two hours as the award winners were revealed.

Other supporters of the 2018 Golden Apple Awards included Furness College, Lakes College, Carlisle Racecourse, BAE Systems, Newton Rigg College, Choose Cumbria and Armstrong Watson.

The 2018 Golden Apple Awards - WINNERS

Best Student (sponsored by Askham Bryan) - David Mitchell, Barrow

Best Teaching Professional (sponsored by University of Cumbria) - Kerryann Wilson, Energy Coast UTC, Lillyhall

Best Support Staff (sponsored by Lakes College) - Jo Burleigh, Energy Coast UTC, Lillyhall

Best Early Years Provider (sponsored by Askham Bryan) - Lamplugh CE School and Nursery, Lamplugh, Frizington

Best Community Initiative (sponsored by Armstrong Watson) - "We Will", Ewanrigg Local Trust, Maryport

Best Use of Technology (sponsored by Newsquest Cumbria) - Dalton St Mary's CE Primary School, Dalton in Furness

Best Teaching Assistant (sponsored by BAE Systems) - Natalie Shaw, Furness College, Barrow

Best Industry Engagement Initiative (sponsored by CoNE) - Nick Hall of Aroma Catering, Ulverston Victoria High School

Best Further Education Provider (sponsored by CoNE) - Lakes College, Lillyhall

Best Education Profession Newcomer (sponsored by University of Cumbria) - Richard Gardiner, Newton Rigg College, Penrith

Best Learning, Development and Training (sponsored by BAE Systems) - Cumbria Training Centre, Barrow

Best Education and Learning Leader (sponsored by Armstrong Watson) - Cherry Tingle, principal of Energy Coast UTC, Lillyhall

People's Choice Award (sponsored by CoNE) - Rachel Esposito, Primary Programme Lead (School Direct), Kendal

Against All Odds (sponsored by University of Cumbria) - Nathan Milburn, Barrow Sixth Form College

Best Apprentice (sponsored by Furness College) - two winners: Conor Alexander, Lakes College, Lillyhall and Rebecca Mooney, Carlisle College

Best Inclusion Initiative (sponsored by Carlisle Racecourse) - North Allerdale Development Trust (Early Intervention Programme)

Best Primary School (sponsored by Furness College) - Fairfield Primary School, Cockermouth

Best Secondary School (sponsored by Carlisle Racecourse) - Netherhall School, Maryport

Best Employee Development Programme (sponsored by Lakes College) - Ward 4 West Cumberland Hospital & Tissue viability nurses, Whitehaven

Lifetime Achievement - Denis Fay, who retired as head of Ulverston Victoria High School at Easter after a 40-year career spanning Barrow, Dalton and Ulverston