The inaugural Loreto College Social Responsibility Awards evening took place in May. Members of the Loreto family have been asked to nominate worthy recipients, who have gone that ‘extra mile’ and made a real difference in their own communities or further afield.
The Sports Hall was decked out in appropriate finery, refreshments were provided and award winners and guests mixed amiably on a warm sunny evening. Opening proceedings, Principal Ann Clynch welcomed everyone and reminded the audience that this was Loreto’s opportunity to recognise in a formal way the often unsung achievements of so many members of the wider Loreto family, sentiments reinforced by the guest speaker, theologian Elaine Storkey, who, in her address, emphasised the importance of the social dimension of all of our lives.
There then followed a procession of truly remarkable, mostly young, people, either highly commended or winners of the various categories. College related extra-curricular activities, such as the highly successful Duke of Edinburgh programme and the ever popular Debate Club, received due recognition, as did the extremely effective Oxbridge mentoring scheme and the impressive Medics, Dentists, Vets preparation programme. We heard of numerous charitable endeavours in the Manchester area, focused on the under represented and vulnerable, sometimes working through faith organisations but often simply the altruistic acts of caring young people. From further afield came reports of the Loreto influence in Albania, in other parts of Europe, in South Asia and in Africa. Loreto alumni are working with NGOs in some of the most deprived communities in the world, and even with the UN in Beirut.
The Principal rounded off a marvellous evening by presenting three special awards. She paid tribute to Sir Howard Bernstein, who unfortunately was unable to attend because of a prior engagement, whose energy and vision has done so much for the city of Manchester, but who has let it be known that he regards his greatest achievement as the regeneration of Hulme. Ms Clynch then gave a brief exposition of the work of Sr Imelda Poole, fighting against the evil of human trafficking in Albania and other European countries, fighting to such good effect that laws have been changed in various countries, shifting the balance towards the victim. Sr Imelda is abroad so her award was accepted by Sr Jacinta Davenport. Finally, Ms Clynch acknowledged the contribution of Sr Patricia Goodstadt, a lifetime and a career devoted to the Loreto values, particularly in the field of education: Principal of the sixth form college and Loreto Grammar School, highly influential voice in the continued evolution of education in the Catholic sector, champion of the disadvantaged, and true witness to the spirit of Mary Ward; it was wonderful that Sr Patricia was present to receive her award.
This truly inspirational evening, organised with great efficiency by Pauline Winn, will now become a feature on the Loreto calendar, representing a small, but heartfelt, acknowledgement of the selfless good works carried out by so many members of the wider Loreto family.