ONE of the Yorkshire Rows took centre stage at a York secondary school’s awards presentation evening.

Vale of York Academy, formerly Canon Lee School, welcomed Niki Doeg, as their guest speaker at the annual event.

Niki spoke to students, parents, staff and invited VIPs at the Clifton school’s celebratory event about the challenges she faced when she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean with three other Yorkshire mums and how the challenge has shaped her attitude towards the opportunities life brings.

This is the first time staff, students and the school community have come together as Vale of York Academy, to celebrate the achievements of its young people.

Vale of York Principal, Helen Dowds, said: “This last year has been quite a journey for us all. The students who received awards have been instrumental in leading and shaping the

changes that were required to bring this school into a new era as an academy of which we can all be proud. The journey we are on is epitomised by the spirit and dedication of the award winners and their drive to be the best they can. Having Niki here tonight has reinforced the fact that you can do and be anything you want, if you put your mind to it.”

Head boy and girl, Joseph Stancliffe and Holly Cairns, welcomed students to the stage to receive their awards and guests enjoyed music from Vale of York musicians Mina Rodgers, John Tuffen and Eve Clark.

Vale of York is part of the York-based Hope Learning Trust alongside Manor CE Academy, Poppleton Ousebank Primary School, Burton Green Academy School and Barlby High School who all work alongside one another as an academy trust outside local authority control.

The Yorkshire Rows are four Yorkshire women who rowed the Atlantic in 2016: Niki Doeg, Helen Butters, Frances Davies, and Janette Benaddi, becoming the oldest all-female crew to do so.