Date published: Wed 14 Jun 2017
Author: B. Gibson-Patteux
In May, Lower First Form pupil, Femi Owolade-Coombes, attended a very special event at St James’s Palace. The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry were presenting the Diana Award's inaugural Legacy Award, in memory of their mother, the Princess of Wales, to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of her death.
Femi, a Design Technology & Engineering Scholar, received a Legacy Award for his work setting up a local ‘Raspberry Jam’ (a coding workshop where aficionados of all levels can share knowledge and meet like-minded people). His is a Raspberry Jam with a difference, however; aimed at 5-15 year olds, his South London Raspberry Jam, set up with the help of his mother, is Autism and Tourette’s friendly. 11-year-old Femi explains, “I found that I really liked coding events, and felt that the kids I know who are like me might also like them. We have partnered up with Tourettes Action and Ambitious About Autism to help spread the word about how much fun coding can be.”
20 inspirational 11-18 year olds from all corners of the globe were selected specifically for their exceptional qualities of kindness, compassion and service. Femi was presented with the Award in the Palace Throne Room, where the Royal brothers took time to chat to each recipient, some of whom had travelled from as far as Belize and Canada. Femi commented, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I enjoyed meeting the other prize-winners, and William and Harry, who were so down-to-earth and friendly.”
Femi, who featured in an issue of specialist magazine, MagPi, earlier this year, was a news sensation following his award, with interviews by Sky News and BBC News, and articles in numerous media outlets.
Femi will also be asked to attend an event in October, where he will receive his Diana Award, which recognises young people ‘who carry out inspiring work without expectation of reward’. The Year 6 pupil clearly embodies this ethos, as he will be travelling to Bangladesh in July for a fortnight, to run Robot & Physical Computing workshops for 100 children from low-income families.