‘Community Champion’ Wirral councillor memorial award given to college student

The inaugural award given in honour of a late Wirral councillor has been issued to a Birkenhead Sixth Form College student.

Eighteen-year-old Jess Blackburn is the first recipient of the Denise Roberts award, marking her commitment to helping others and her achievements throughout her time in further education.

Denise Roberts served as a Wirral councillor for Claughton from 1999 and worked in the position for 17 years. She passed away in 2017 at the age of 74.

She was a long-time governor at Birkenhead Sixth Form College and revered as a community champion, and this cash award is given to a student in Denise’s honour from Wirral Council.

Jess joined the College in 2020 from Prenton High School, and she has worked as a representative for the College’s Learning Assistance Base, helping other students with any additional support needs and lending her time to act as a friendly face and kindly ear to fellow students across Years 12 and 13.

Jess, who now looks to head to university to study Geography, was presented her well-deserved £100 cheque and certificate by Birkenhead Sixth Form College Principal, Mike Kilbride, and Director of Learning Support, James King.

James said, “Jess is an exceptional student who embodies the College values. Jess has overcome numerous challenges, though has remained resilient in life and throughout her education, completing her studies at Birkenhead Sixth Form College and securing an offer from the University of Liverpool to study Geography. She is ambitious and aspirational for her future, and is an extremely hard-working, focused and determined student.

“Jess is positive and thoughtful, evidenced in her role as Learning Assistance Base Ambassador, and has helped new students find their feet at the College, as well as giving peer support academically and emotionally whenever needed.  

James continued, “She has emerged a confident young woman with the courage and optimism that will enable her to flourish in her personal, academic and work life. Everyone at the College wishes her extremely well as she moves onto university.”

Jess’s award win was also endorsed by current Claughton Councillor, Gillian Wood, who offered her congratulations to Jess from Wirral Labour Party.

Wirral Councillor Denise Roberts, who passed away in 2017

Main image: The Denise Roberts Award winner, Jess Blackburn (C) with Birkenhead Sixth_Form College Principal Mike Kilbride (R) and Director of Learning Support James King (L). Accompanied by College dog Teddy

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