Find out why this talented South Shields student received an award from Bishop

Bishop Seamus Cunningham presents pupil Paul Skipper, with his award after the youngster scooped third place in national competition, the Catholic Young Writer Award.
Bishop Seamus Cunningham presents pupil Paul Skipper, with his award after the youngster scooped third place in national competition, the Catholic Young Writer Award.

A South Shields teen saw off competition from hundreds of other students to win a national Catholic writing award.

St Wilfrid’s RC College pupil Paul Skipper has won third place in the Catholic Young Writer Award, sponsored by the Catholic Union Charitable Trust, for writing an essay to answer the question ‘Why do Catholics go to Mass on a Sunday?’

The national competition was open to all Catholic secondary schools and asked students to reference their essay with material from the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and relevant Papal documents.

Assistant head and RE teacher Francesca Craik said: “Paul put together a really well-written essay on this.
“Pupils were asked to enter the competition as part of their RE homework back in May, so Paul was in Year 10 when he entered.

“It is the first year the school has entered the competition and we have had a winner.”
The 15-year-old from Harton, was delighted to have come third place and was even able to meet Bishop Seamus Cunningham, who presented him with the accolade on a visit to the school on Temple Park Road, to open the new technology and maths block.

On receiving the award, Paul was presented with a school certificate and a selection of Catholic books.

Now the year 11 pupil hopes to enter the competition once again to see if he can win the top spot.

He said: “I am very proud that I have won this award.
“It is a great award and it was great to meet the Bishop.

“My family are religious and they are proud too.
“It was a real shock to win third place.

“I am going to enter again next year and I am going to go for first.

“I am grateful that the school gave me and award certificate and the chance to meet the Bishop.”

Ms Craik said she was very proud of her student. She said: “He is a lovely boy who comes from a practicing Roman Catholic family, so this award means a lot to him.

“We are all delighted for him as he is such a lovely boy and has done so well.

“We are really proud of him.”