A STUDENT from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy met HRH Prince Charles this week after she was one of just 50 ambassadors to be recognised in a national campaign.

Saffron Ball, a year 11 student, was appointed an ambassador for the national #iwill campaign, which aims to make social action a part of life for as many young people as possible by 2020.

The campaign is being co-ordinated by the charity Step Up to Serve and as an ambassador, she was introduced to the charity’s patron Prince Charles at a special event in London this week.

She was put forward for the award by the Franklin Scholars programme at the academy, which involves year 10 students who give up their time to tutor and mentor younger students.

Miss Ball, who was recognised for her work in the programme last year when she taught Natalie Smith, said that having a mentor when she was younger would have been invaluable, and that’s why she wanted the experience.

She said: “When I heard Franklin Scholars were looking for mentors for Year 7 at my school, I thought about how at that age I’d have appreciated the support of an older student, so I volunteered to help. It’s honestly been an amazing experience.

“I can still remember what it was like to start secondary school, not quite knowing the rules at first and getting lost finding your way to the Science block and working out which clubs to join.

“It’s exciting but daunting.

“I’ve developed a really close bond with my student, and it’s so rewarding to see how her literacy levels have improved above expectations since we’ve been working together.”

Step Up to Serve was a new charity established in 2013 and is behind the #iwill campaign, which was launched by Prince Charles and all of the main political party leaders with an aim of making participation in meaningful social action the norm for young people.

Miss Ball was presented with a certificate by DACA principal Brendan Loughran yesterday morning, who said her mentoring has made a huge difference to Natalie.

He said: “We are really proud of her, she is very diligent and understated about how she goes about her work and she has proved to be highly effective.

“Natalie has made significant progress in her literacy, which is really important.

“The programme was a pilot last year and because it was so successful we have decided to continue it so others can follow Saffron’s success.”