A GREAT Harwood teenager has been named student of the year after turning his life around.

Brandon Cocker, 18, recently completed a two-year Futsal Education Scholarship at Accrington Stanley with the highest possible mark.

The Great Harwood resident, who lives in Barn Meadow Lane, was made student of the year throughout the UK by TVS Education, which runs the futsal programme at football league clubs.

He will also be presented with Playstation 4 games console after being awarded a BTEC Level Three Extended Diploma in Sport with a triple distinction star.

Brandon, who admitted he felt he was going nowhere when he left St Augustine’s School two years ago, was overweight at 16 stone and said he was ‘grumpy and lazy’.

He has now slimmed down to 12 stone and plans to go on and study sports coaching and business.

He said: “I wasn’t inspired at school and, to be honest, I was lazy. I always wanted to do something with sport and I heard about the futsal scholarship, went to the open day, and was impressed.

“When I started the course, I was 16 stone and I was grumpy and lazy. But I started training every day, learning about nutrition and the fitness industry and it really spurred me on. I think I am unrecognisable from the teenager who left school.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course, it showed the path I wanted to go down and I guess I thrived on doing subjects I enjoy.”

Education officer at Stanley Trust, Alan Phillipson, said taking a gamble on Brandon paid off.

He said: “Brandon asked to go on our course but he didn’t get the GCSEs he needed. We wrote to the funding providers and they agreed to take a chance on Brandon, and it was one of the best decisions we both made.”

New students are being recruited onto the next extended sports diploma course.

For more information, call Alan on 07940 882388 or email info@stanley trust.co.uk