Former St Albans student receives royal approval for charity volunteering

Former Verulam School pupil Alex Astley is presented with the Adrian Evans award by The Princess Roy

Former Verulam School pupil Alex Astley is presented with the Adrian Evans award by The Princess Royal - Credit: Photo supplied

After arriving by helicopter at a scouting centre, the Princess Royal presented a former St Albans student with an accolade for his dedication to volunteering.

Alex Astley, an ex-Verulam School pupil now studying politics and economics at Oxford University, has won the Adrian Evans Award.

The accolade, sponsored by international youth development charity Lattitude Global Volunteering, was given to Alex for his recent work in co-founding an educational charity, Students4Students.

It was presented by Princess Anne during a trip to Blackwell Adventure, an outdoor activity, camping and residential centre in the Midlands.

Alex and Will Clare co-founded Students4Students with the aim of providing additional tutoring to struggling primary school pupils.

The charity encourages young people aged from 16-25 to become volunteer tutors for primary school children who are at risk of not fulfilling their potential.

Tutors work with youngsters on a one-to-one basis in either maths or English for an hourly session once a week.

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The charity currently works with two schools in the Oxford area but is already looking to expand, including into St Albans.

Commenting on the award, which included a £400 grant, Alex said: “It was fantastic to meet the Princess Royal and have all the work that Will, myself and all of the volunteers have put in recognised.”

Princess Anne said: “People often blame secondary schools, overlooking the impact of primary schools. Without the skills provided at primary schools, it is hard to achieve in further education and later life.”

Verulam School headmaster Paul Ramsey, a trustee for Students4Students, said he was looking forward to developing the charity’s work locally via the secondary school.