FOR the first time ever, two gamekeeping students have tied for top place for a national gamekeeping award – and both are from Askham Bryan College.

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy award is presented to the best full, or part-time gamekeeping student or apprentice of the academic year.

This year the honours have been shared by Ryan Mort, 21, and Tom Hesmondhalgh, 19, who attended Askham Bryan College in York and its Newton Rigg campus at Penrith respectively.

Ryan, from Tadcaster, who was a full-time student on an Extended Diploma in Countryside and Gamekeeping at Askham Bryan College, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to put the award on my CV.

"I’m absolutely beside myself and humbled to have won. So thank you to everyone involved. My dad and brother are keepers, and I live and breathe everything about keeping. In fact I’ve wanted to be a keeper since I was a lad.”

Tom, from near Garrowby in East Yorkshire, who studied on a Level 3 Countryside Management (Game) course full-time at Newton Rigg College, said: “I’m really chuffed to have won the Frank Jenkins.

"It’s a tremendous honour. Mum and dad are delighted, too, so is my old head keeper, Tony Rankin, from the Yorkshire shoot where I first started helping out at weekends when I was around nine years old. I loved keeping from day one. I’ve never looked back."