THE family of a former Cherwell School pupil said they were ‘proud’ of his legacy after the 25th annual award in his memory was won by an aspiring playwright.

Georgie Newson-Errey claimed the Dan Hemingway Memorial Award for her play ‘Balloons’ - about a teenage boy becoming obsessed with 'Transhumanism' and how technology can thwart death.

The £350 prize is given every year to one of the school’s sixth formers in memory of former student Dan, who died in 1991 after being knocked down while cycling along the A40 on Christmas morning.

The aspiring 19-year-old writer had left the school less than two years before he died and his parents Sue and John set up the award to inspire and encourage creative teenagers to pursue their a career in the arts.

Miss Newson-Errey, from South Hinksey, said: “I was always going to write a play but the award gave me a timeframe to work towards.

“It was amazing to win - the standard of entries was just so good.

“There’s not a lot of recognition for extra curricular things - especially in state schools so I think the award is really important.”

The 18-year-old told Mrs Hemingway her ambition was to bring her play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In the 25th year of the award, Mrs Hemingway, who runs the HemingwayArt gallery in Cassington, said it was great to see so many young people being inspired to express their creativity.

The 68-year-old said: “We want the award to be a stepping stone so it’s fantastic that Georgie’s ambition is to take her play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“We are always astounded by the standard but it was very mature writing and all about the teenage condition and what people are thinking about at that age.

“Some of the students said it was really inspiring to have a project like the Dan Hemingway prize - we hear about the winners but having spoken to a lot of the others all of them are really enthusiastic about what they have handed in.

“It’s their passion and the award gives them an opportunity to take that first step and submit something that is judged and looked at by other people.”

She added that she was ‘heartened’ to hear from the school that a Government decision to scrap AS Level exams at the end of year 12 had given sixth form pupils more time to be creative.

Several of the awards 24 previous winners have gone onto forge careers in the arts, including author Will Wiles, who is working on his third novel, and writer and artist Hannah Forbes Black.

Reflecting on the past quarter of a century Mrs Hemingway said the family was ‘proud’ of their son’s legacy.

She said: “When it started we didn’t think about how it would go on for - we just wanted to do something positive as a family.

“It’s been 25 years now and Dan would have been very happy to see what the award has done for so many people.”