Clare battles chronic illness to pick up educational award

Clare Magowan picked up the Outstanding BTEC Public Services Student of the Year award.  INCT 29-723-CON
Clare Magowan picked up the Outstanding BTEC Public Services Student of the Year award. INCT 29-723-CON

A Carrickfergus student who is battling chronic illness has picked up a prestigious educational award.

Clare Magowan received the Outstanding BTEC Public Services Student of the Year during a ceremony at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on July 7.

The event celebrates achievement in the country’s most widely taken vocational qualification.

It also recognises the nearly one million students around the country who are studying BTEC qualifications this year.

Pearson, who own BTECs, received nearly 1,000 nominations across the 19 categories for this year’s awards.

Clare was nominated for the accolade due to her “enormous resilience” in overcoming the challenges that came her way.

After being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in school, the local student found she was too unwell to sit her GCSEs.

However, Belfast Metropolitan College accepted her onto the BTEC Level 3 Public Services course.

Alongside her BTEC, Clare also gained qualifications in Event Stewarding, Essential Skills Numeracy Level 2 and ICT Level 2 in addition to gaining her GCSE in Maths after attending evening classes.

Despite the often debilitating nature of her illness, Clare has worked as Games Ambassador for a number of events, including the World Police and Fire Games and the Giro D’Italia.

She is now a qualified part-time event steward at many other public events, such as the BBC Sports Person of the Year.

Clare is also a local Fire Cadet and was the first female to win runner up for Best Cadet.

After completing her BTEC, Clare began a History degree at Ulster University.

She hopes to join the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service or another public service, contributing to society and helping others.

“I never thought that I would win such an award,” Clare said.

“I could not have achieved this without the support of my amazing lecturers at Belfast Met. I will be forever grateful to them.

“This has been an honour and will be a day I never forget.”

Congratulating Clare on behalf of Belfast Metropolitan College was head of Sport, Care Services, Health and Supported Learning, Paul Boyle.

“It is because of students like Clare that my colleagues and I are involved in education, and it is extremely rewarding to be part of this success story,” he said.

“Clare has shown enormous resilience to overcome many challenges along the way and this award is a fitting tribute to her diligence, enthusiasm and commitment.

“I am in absolutely no doubt that Clare has a very bright future ahead of her and we all wish her every success in her endeavours.”