YOUNG talent and diversity in the accountancy profession were celebrated at the York Society of Chartered Accountants annual dinner.

The event, held at York Racecourse, saw local top placed students sitting ICAEW professional exams honoured with new awards, sponsored by accountancy firm Hayes.

James Atkinson and Stephen Wilcockson were the highest placed local students in the June and December 2013 ICAEW final exam sittings, with Mr Atkinson achieving the fourth highest score nationally.

The dinner was attended by Arthur Bailey, deputy president of the ICAEW, the profession's national association, who talked about his passion for keeping the industry open to all.

Mr Bailey talked about the association's commitment to its national BASE business game for school students, which came to York for the first time this year.

The evening, which was attended by more than 100 local business people, also featured a talk from York Society president Lydia Ebdon, who spoke about how becoming a chartered accountant had transformed her opportunities after a difficult upbringing, while entertainment was provided by Kate Fox, a performance poet from Thirsk, who's repertoire that included statistical poems.

Other top table guests included the Lord Mayor, Councillor Julie Gunnell and Busilana (“Quej”) Kashilembo, who, after only three years learning English as a young refugee, opened the speeches, helping to raise more than £2,000 on the night for The Prince’s Trust.