INSPIRATIONAL Jay Kelly has been left bowled over after being handed an award for working through poor mental health to win a place at university.
Former Highbury College student Jay Kelly, 21, from Waterlooville, went from an A* student to barely attending school and was admitted to hospital for four months after self harming while coming out as transgender.
Now the Prince’s Trust has awarded him the Ascential Educational Achiever national award – presented on stage by actor Katherine Kelly and comedian Michael McIntyre, with Prince Charles joining him on stage.
Stunned Jay said: ‘Being given this award is amazing.
‘I had read all the other nominees’ stories, and it’s such an honour for me to win – everyone was so deserving.
‘This award has come at the best time for me, as my mental health will never be perfect.
‘It’s given me another push to do my best in this course and in my life, not just for myself but for everyone who has supported me, including the Prince’s Trust, who I will never be able to thank enough.’
The award celebrates young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their community.
Jay has overcome mental health issues and difficulties at home after coming out as transgender.
He previously told The News how his age began to deteriorate from the age of 12 and at the age of 14 ‘felt different to other girls my age and began to question my gender’.
He began to turn his life around after taking part in The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Programme.
Jay took part in activities that saw him conquer his fear of heights and push the boundaries of what he thought he could achieve.
Now studying mental health nursing at the University of West London, Jay is in a ‘much better place’ and is excited for his future.
Jay received his accolade on Wednesday after attending The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx and Homesense Awards - a star-studded Oscar style ceremony at the London Palladium.
Charity founder and president, The Prince of Wales, attended the event in which Jay was presented with his award.
Katherine said: ‘It was such an honour and joy to meet Jay today.’