Pat on back for teen who fought back

A TEENAGER who was on his final warning at an Ipswich school and the mentor who helped him turn his life around have each picked up a top award.

A TEENAGER who was on his final warning at an Ipswich school and the mentor who helped him turn his life around have each picked up a top award.

Nassir Uddin, 17, had been involved in fights at Holywells High School and did not know what to do with his life but Mal Ahklak enabled him to find a new direction.

Now they have both been honoured by the Princes Trust at its Celebrate Success ceremony.

Nassir was named East of England Showground educational achiever of the year and Mr Ahklak, Holywells' flexible curriculum co-ordinator, won the Blyth Valley leadership award at the event in Peterborough.

The schoolboy, of Nansen Road, had been frustrated at school and got into trouble but with the help of Mr Ahklak he signed up for Princes Trust courses to learn new skills.

He went on to become a school prefect and, after leaving school this summer, works as a waiter at his brother's Indian restaurant. He hopes to go on to join the police force.

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Nassir said: “Winning this award is just amazing. I used to really hate school and was often in trouble. I used to get distracted and had a couple of minor fights.

“But the trust programme brought out the best in me and my life has totally turned around.

“I'll never forget what they - and Mal in particular - have done for me. Mal was like an older brother, rather than a teacher.”

Nassir took a six-week course on life as a firefighter with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and also did a safe driving course at Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich.

Now he has returned to Holywells as a volunteer to help other pupils who have problems.

Mr Ahklal said: “Seeing how the trust's programmes can transform the lives of young people facing challenges in life is incredibly rewarding.”

The awards honoured the achievements of disadvantaged young people, supported by the trust, who have succeeded against the odds and had a positive impact on their local community, as well as the volunteers and staff who have helped them.

N Do you know someone who has turned their life around? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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