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Wirral school's sixth form art prize honours former student
10:48am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A WIRRAL school has awarded a sixth form art prize in memory of a former student who died in the Egypt hot air balloon disaster.
Joe Bampton, 40, a former student of St Mary's Catholic College in Wallasey, died along with his partner and 17 other tourists when the hot air balloon in which they were travelling exploded and crashed at Luxor, near the Valley of the Kings, in February this year.
His mum, Mrs Maureen Bampton, was invited to present The Joe Bampton Artist of the Year Award to its first recipient, talented young Wallasey artist Anna Marsh.
The presentation took place as part of St Mary's Catholic College annual awards evening at The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton.
Anna, aged 17, is an A Level Art student in St Mary’s Sixth Form, and a selection of her work was displayed in the theatre foyer.
Mrs Bampton still lives in the family home in Wallasey Village where her son grew up and attended the nearby secondary school.
She said: "I am delighted that St Mary's has remembered Joe in this way."
Anna, who hopes to pursue a career in art herself, said: ‘It’s a great honour to receive such a special award, but very sad that Joe died in such awful circumstances. I know he was very talented."
Joe left St Mary's in 1991 to continue his art studies, eventually attending the Slade School of Art in London.
He lived and worked in London but regularly returned to Wirral to spend time with his family.
He worked as a sculptor and photographer as well as a valuer and cataloguer for rugs and carpets at a Chelsea auction house.
His 34-year-old Hungarian-born partner Suzanna was also a professional artist, whose work was displayed in the Saatchi Gallery, London.
Mrs Bampton is a familiar face to art lovers in Liverpool as a great supporter of the arts with strong links to the famous Bluecoat Display Centre.
St Mary's Deputy Head Mr John Lally, who retired in July, was one of Joe's English teachers.
He said: "Joe's death came as a very great shock to us. We remember him with great fondness and also with pride that he achieved so much in his life.
"We hope that in instituting this award, he will continue to be part of the family of St Mary's and his dedication and talent will continue to inspire our students."
Headteacher Tony Boyle said: "St Mary's is proud of the part we play in nurturing the diverse gifts and talents of our students.
"We have a long established reputation for developing students in the arts, and Joe is remembered as a gifted artist who thrived here.
"It is only fitting that we should continue to honour the memory of such a role model with this special award."
Joe was also honoured earlier this year by the organisers of The Liverpool Art Prize in awarding the People's Choice Award 2013 in his memory.
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