AWARD-WINNING students won praise from a successful entrepreneur who returned to his old school to congratulate them on their achievements.

Ed Ellerington, who set up his first business when he was a 16-year-old pupil at Ripon Grammar School, revisited the school as the special guest at its annual lower school prize-giving ceremony.

He said: “I had one of the best possible starts in life at Ripon Grammar School.

"My school days really were among my happiest.”

He told students, who received a host of awards for academic and sporting prowess: “I encourage you all to think big and soak up as much as you can from this place.”

The Northern Echo:

Headmaster Jonathan Webb, Ed Ellerington, Elizabeth Jarvis, chair of governors

Mr Ellerington told the packed hall how he set up his first text messaging property marketing business, which he later sold to the Halifax Estate Agency, while he was a boarding student.

Having joined RGS from a tiny village primary school on the North York Moors, the former deputy head boy deferred going to university to follow a career in banking and real estate and recently launched an innovative £25m build-to-rent property business with an estimated portfolio pipeline of £300m.

At the prize-giving ceremony, headmaster Jonathan Webb reflected on a year of tremendous academic and sporting successes for Ripon and said he had read many overwhelmingly positive end-of-term reports. He said: “Whether you receive a prize or not, you can be proud of the work you have done.”