A graduate from the University of Worcester has received a special award from one of the City's oldest organisations.
The Clothiers Company of Worcester is an ancient trade guild, which was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1590. Their Charitable Foundation is somewhat younger, having been formed in 2014 - with one of its objectives being to support the education of young people in Worcestershire. Each year, one graduating student from the University of Worcester is chosen to receive this award in recognition of academic and educational excellence.
Kevin, a published author who left a successful career as a sales manager to pursue his dream of becoming a writer at the University of Worcester, was chosen for the award because of his tireless work in local schools - encouraging children to engage with literacy through the power of storytelling.
"I am over-joyed to win this award," said the 47-year-old. Despite not having read a book independently until the age of 25, Kevin now has three novels and over 30 short stories to his name. His latest novel, Max and Luchia: The Game Makers, was published by Black Pear Press in September.
"Max and Luchia is a book that is all about friendship, supporting each other, looking after each other," he said. "As recipient of the award I was invited to the Clothiers' Annual dinner to talk to their members about my work, but this isn't really about me. Fellow Worcester graduate, Seraphim Bryant, illustrated the book with love, and it is glorious what she has done. It certainly wouldn't be the same book without her. Similarly Jodie Stilgoe, an animal, landscape and event photographer, has documented the Max & Luchia journey with some wonderful photographs, so it was important for me that we all went together as a team and mirrored the values of the book in that way."
"When I work in schools I like to try and create an encouraging environment where all contributions are valued," he added. "That's how I found university to be after many years in sales, an encouraging environment, and I want the children to know what that feels like. Children are the greatest audience, possibly the hardest, but the greatest too."
Kevin added: "This award makes me feel proud of everything we have achieved. It means a lot because we were given this award for our work in the community, and to have that kind of recognition from the Clothiers Company - an organisation of such high standing " is therefore extra-special."
Ian Smith, who is a Trustee of the Clothiers Company Foundation, said: "I am so pleased that Kevin won the Clothiers" Company Charitable Foundation Annual Award for 2018, he is such a deserving winner and a great ambassador for the University. Kevin is a mature student, who has changed the direction of his career and really found his vocation. He does some wonderful work promoting reading in local primary schools. It was delightful seeing Kevin's work - with his collaborator Illustrator Seraphim Bryant - at the Clothiers" Annual Dinner in the Guildhall. The two of them are inspirational characters."
Photograph in the Guild Hall, by Jodie Stilgoe