Banbury mum 'proud as punch' after son is recognised for engineering projects at prestigious awards

A Banbury mother has described how proud she is of her 15-year-old son, who was recently recognised at the Oxfordshire High Sheriff Engineering Awards for his impressive portfolio of school engineering projects.
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Student at Futures Institute Banbury and aspiring engineer Jed Thorburn was recognised among the most talented engineering students in the county at the High Sheriff Awards at Abingdon and Witney College on Monday (June 26).

The awards celebrate students from Oxfordshire state schools who have been nominated by their teachers for showing great promise in the fields of engineering, resistant materials, or design technology.

The students are then picked by the High Sherriff of Oxfordshire, which this year is Sally Scott, with a £400 voucher for the winning student and £1000 for the school or college with a winning student.

Jed was recognised for his creative thinking and hard work throughout his time studying engineering at the Futures Institute.Jed was recognised for his creative thinking and hard work throughout his time studying engineering at the Futures Institute.
Jed was recognised for his creative thinking and hard work throughout his time studying engineering at the Futures Institute.

Jed came third in his category of the Year 10 and 11 Award and received a £100 Amazon voucher for his outstanding portfolio of projects completed over the past two years.

Throughout his time studying engineering at the school that specialises in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, Jed completed outstanding projects, including designing and building a water turbine, redesigning the school after a disaster, and creating an app that encourages children to spend more time outdoors.Jed’s mother, Claire Thorburn, said: "I’m proud as punch. It was amazing because he’s from a fairly small state school, and to come third was amazing!

"We had a really good time; it was a great event, and I’m super proud of him. He did really well networking after the event as well and ended up making good connections with some of the VIPs from the industry who were there."

The award should put Jed in good stead when he pursues a career in engineering once he has completed school, as it is a valuable asset to include on his CV.

Some of Jed's award-winning projects included designing and building a water turbine as part of a project linked to Intermediate Technology and designing a glider for an RAF competition.Some of Jed's award-winning projects included designing and building a water turbine as part of a project linked to Intermediate Technology and designing a glider for an RAF competition.
Some of Jed's award-winning projects included designing and building a water turbine as part of a project linked to Intermediate Technology and designing a glider for an RAF competition.

Dr. Catherine Pickup, director of project-based learning at Futures Institute and Jed’s teacher for the past two years, said: "Jed has impressed me with his focus and dedication to an engineering challenge. He draws on his hobbies at home as well as acquiring skills by interacting with our STEM ambassador visitors. We had ambassadors from RAF Kineton for the glider challenge and a Zimbabwean engineer who collaborated with the students on the design of the water turbine.

"Jed is proud of his portfolio of work that he has built up in our Core Project lessons. The High Sheriff was impressed with it. He always makes explanatory drawings and is adept at building models for his ideas.

"I am so proud that the breadth of projects that he has completed has been recognised by the Lucy's engineers and the High Sheriff. I am also pleased with his leadership skill development; he recently led the three teams that entered the Rotary Engineering Challenge at Banbury and Bicester College."

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent, non-political Royal appointment that dates back to Saxon times, when they were responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order and for the collection of taxes due to the Crown.

The modern role of the High Sheriff includes a mix of ceremonial, charitable, and community functions as well as supporting the Crown and the judiciary system.