A PIONEERING journalist made headlines at her former school as she urged students to believe in themselves and turn their dreams into reality.

Hannah Chapman, the first female editor of The Northern Echo, was guest of honour at Northallerton School and Sixth Form College celebration of achievements at Hambleton Forum.

The awards, held annually, recognise students who have excelled through hard work, commitment to their studies and volunteering within the local community.

Ms Chapman, who left the school 17 years ago to study a career in journalism, said: “Everyone remembers at least one teacher who influenced them at school, but for me it was two, my science teacher who had a great sense of humour and taught me some important life skills and my business studies teacher, who impressed upon me the importance of knowing the difference between dreams and reality.

“I never thought that I would be the first female editor of The Northern Echo, but with good humour and hard work it just shows that anything is possible if you believe in yourself."

The ceremony for students past and present was hosted by head boy Ed Hixson and head girl Laura West, assisted by head of English Nick Watkins.

It recognised achievements in a wide range of areas from academia and music to drama and art, including awards for citizenship, design and technology, effort, determination, and commitment and enthusiasm in sport.

The celebration event also welcomed back former pupil and the first Briton to climb the world’s highest mountains Alan Hinkes, who presented an endeavour award in his name to student Callum Tiffin.

Interim chair of governors Jan Linsley said: “Evenings like this are a real pleasure and an opportunity to celebrate students who make a real difference and a positive contribution to our school and local community.”

Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Northallerton School and Sixth Form College Pop Choir and a performance by drama students with a teaser from next year’s school production Alice.

Newly appointed principal Chris Drew said: “Tonight is all about our students achieving wonderful things. It is only right to acknowledge their endeavours and efforts.”