A student at Ariel Drama Academy has been honoured with the Diana Award.
Oliver Hopkins, who is rehearsing for the role of Javert in the academy’s version of Les Misérables, has been a student with Ariel for over six years.
The Diana award was established in 1999 as a lasting legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales.
The award celebrates young people who support others and strives to improve communities.
Oliver, 17, from Burgess Hill, received the Diana award for being an outstanding fundraiser in the local community.
He has headed up many events and raised thousands of pounds in aid of the Angus Rowland Forget me not Fund.
Nicci Hospon Ariel’s Principal, said: “ Ariel Drama Academy are extremely proud of Oliver. The lady Diana award will encourage him to continue fundraising for local causes and will hopefully inspire others to get involved.”
Angus, Oliver’s best friend, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in October 2010, and passed away in May the following year.
The ‘London to Angus Walk’ in May 2012 was Ollie’s original idea for fund raising. This was a sponsored walk with a group of Angus’ closest friends from UCLH, London where Angus was treated, back to his house in Staplefield. Ollie’s enthusiasm motivated the close group and he was widely supported by the school community families and friends. This event alone raised £4,500.
Oliver also organised a Flash mob, in conjunction with Ariel Drama Academy, in the Burgess Hill Martlets shopping centre and raised over £670. Then he persuaded Ariel actors and singers to perform an extra night of their show Musicality, where the ticket sales boosted the fund with another £970.
He also hosted the ‘In Loving Memory Birthday Gig’. Oliver is the vocalist for In Loving Memory, a band comprising of Edward, Angus’s brother, and three other boys.
To commemorate what would have been Angus’s 16th birthday, they sold tickets to raise funds for the charity and performed two sets of music.
Ariel Company Theatre held their 20th year Anniversary Ball and raised £2,600 for the fund. In total, Oliver has raised in excess of £69,000.
Oliver stars in Les Miserables from October 22 to 26 at Chequer Mead and the cast will be selling programmes in aid of the fund to boost the charity work Oliver continues to do.
Evening performances start at 7.15pm. There is a performance on Saturday, October 26, at 2.30pm. Call the box office on 01342 302000 for tickets to see this exciting production. Tickets cost £10 to £16.
For information about the Diana award visit www.diana-award.org.uk or for information on the Angus Rowland fund visit www.justgiving.com/Angus-Mailey-Rowland.