Top achievers: Awards for local science students

Exceptional science students: Omar Helmy (second from left), Hector Epanomeritakis (right), Gavin Lundy (left) and Michael Knowles.
Exceptional science students: Omar Helmy (second from left), Hector Epanomeritakis (right), Gavin Lundy (left) and Michael Knowles.

Two local science students have been recognised at the prestigious Hans Sloane Awards ceremony in the Ulster Museum.

The Hans Sloane Memorial Fund recognises Northern Ireland’s top achievers in A Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and this year’s first place was won by Omar Helmy from Moira, a former pupil of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

Second place went to Michael Knowles from Ballymena Academy and joint third place was awarded to Hector Epanomeritakis from Moira, a former pupil of Wallace High School in Lisburn, and Gavin Lundy of Our Lady & St Patrick’s College, Belfast.

The pupils were presented with their awards at the Ulster Museum by guest speaker Professor Andrew Cooper, Professor of Coastal Studies at Ulster University.

Omar and Hector are both now studying medicine at the University of Cambridge.

Commenting on his success, Omar said: “I’ve always enjoyed science – even from a very young age I’ve been intrigued by how things work. That interest developed into a love of science and maths and it’s a real honour to receive this award. My results were down to a lot of hard work but I should also say that there were many people including my family and teachers who have encouraged me to do my best and strive for excellence.”

Congratulating the students, Honorary Secretary of the Hans Sloane Memorial Fund Committee, Sinead McCartan, commented: “It has been a pleasure to recognise these four outstanding young people in the Hans Sloane Awards. Hans Sloane was renowned for his love for learning and his passionate quest for deeper knowledge and understanding. We can see these qualities already in these superb students and wish them well in their future endeavours.”

The Hans Sloane Memorial Fund was established in 1960 to commemorate the life and work of the celebrated Killyleagh physician, scientist and collector Sir Hans Sloane.