City Lit Blog

HRH The Princess Royal received The City Lit Centenary Fellowship in recognition of her commitment to adult education

Story added 2nd Apr 2019


2019 is a landmark year for City Lit, as we are celebrating 100 years of delivering outstanding education and inspiring more than a million adults across the capital. 

As part of its Centenary year, City Lit held a special awards ceremony on Tuesday 2 April, celebrating amazing achievements by students and inspirational tutors over many years. 


Today we presented HRH The Princess Royal with the prestigious Centenary Fellowship award when we welcomed Her Royal Highness to present the City Lit Centenary Awards. 

We hosted the awards to celebrate 100 years of delivering outstanding education. The Princess Royal met with students and their families at the awards ceremony. The awards also celebrated the dedicated tutors who share their expertise, knowledge and passion across our wide range of courses. 

The Princess Royal, who has been a strong advocate and supporter of lifelong learning for many years, said: “I have had the pleasure of visiting City Lit a number of times to meet its inspirational learners and tutors, as well as welcoming City Lit students to Buckingham Palace as National Learning Ambassadors. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see how people of all ages and backgrounds come together at City Lit to challenge themselves and transform their lives. 

“If education can be defined as ‘training for life’, then lifelong learning and its ability to unlock potential throughout people’s lives should be accepted as part of life. I am honoured to receive the City Lit Centenary Fellowship.”


2019 City Lit Centenary Award Winners

Sylvia Rowbottom
Sylvia is one of our poetry students and her infectious joy for life has captivated our community.  At 90 plus years young, her life experiences are immense. Having lived through WWII her poetry often reflects those times and is informative, moving and frequently amusing. Watch the video

Emily Everitt
Overcoming several challenges in early life, including dropping out of school, Emily joined an Access course at City Lit as a means of transforming her life and opening up new opportunities. She is now studying for a History degree at University College London after flourishing during her time here at City Lit. Watch the video

Ilyaas Cader
Ilyaas came to Britain as a refugee from war in Sri Lanka, following a painful and frightening journey on foot through Russia to Germany – an ordeal most us could barely imagine.  After arriving in England and being granted a visa to remain, Ilyaas discovered City Lit. Over a number of years, he threw himself into studying including English, Maths and British Sign Language courses.  He has achieved so much, and is now a Senior Deaf Children’s Mental Health Worker in east London. Watch the video or read his interview on the world's most popular deaf blog. 

Katya Mons-Rushby
Katya first studied art at City Lit in the 1970s. Katya showed courage and commitment to return to learning, whilst confronting significant health challenges. Rehabilitation helped her return to study again here at City Lit, which she says has been such an important part of her life. Watch the video.

Usman Choudhry
Usman first attended a City Lit stammering course in 1985. Usman says it was the confidence he gained in courses at City Lit that enabled him to get his first job at The Bank of England. He has continued classes on managing his stammer, including a public speaking course. He went on to found a speaking club with a fellow student to help others with public speaking. Usman is also a National Adult Learning Ambassador. Watch the video.

Frank Harris BEM
Frank transformed his life through his learning at City Lit. After years of addiction and intermittent homelessness. He came to City Lit as part of the ‘Move Project’ helping learners with a history of homelessness gain stability and skills for employment. Frank was also honoured as a Learning and Work Institute National Adult Learning Ambassador, an award which he received from Her Royal Highness in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. In the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Frank was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to adult education and skills. Watch the video.

Fiona Pickett
Fiona teaches advanced lipreading classes to people with mild to profound hearing loss. Fiona is herself profoundly deafened. She coordinates our Lipreading Tutor Training course and teaches Deaf Awareness courses to many organisations including The British Museum and Transport for London. Watch the video. 

As we celebrate our centenary, it’s also 100 years since we first provided lipreading classes to returning soldiers from the First World War. We launched our centenary campaign #HearMyLips at a parliamentary reception in November. Our goal is to raise awareness of the hugely positive impact lipreading can have on how people manage their hearing loss; and campaign for better advice to people and to train more lipreading teachers to teach more classes nationwide.

Sue Pember OBE
Sue is a passionate advocate, and committed champion of adult education nationally. She’s a tireless campaigner for what we all do, as Director of Policy at HOLEX, a body which represents a network of more than 130 adult and community learning providers throughout the UK. Sue is hugely influential, in government; she established and led the Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit. The resulting Skills for Life programme remains one of the largest government-led social intervention schemes and laid the foundations for programmes being offered today. It also established in statute the right of adults to an entitlement to free literacy and numeracy provision. Her pursuit of good policy in supporting lifelong learning is second to none. She is a huge source of support for leaders throughout the sector, including here at City Lit. Watch the video

Emily Bedford
Emily is a successful jeweller working on her own collection. She began studying at City Lit several years ago, starting on short courses in jewellery and progressing onto the year-long qualification: City & Guilds in Jewellery design. Emily is a recipient of a student bursary that helped to pay for her course fees. Emily is proof of what is possible when we support each other. Watch the video.

Wendy Moss
Wendy is Head of Teaching and Learning at City Lit and has been a teacher here for 30 years. She has trained and mentored a generation of teachers, transforming the quality of adult education in the capital and beyond. Wendy’s fundamental philosophy is to always approach teacher training and development focusing on what we can do to deliver the very best learning experience for students. Watch the video

James Heath and Victoria Hicks
James’s biggest passion in life is music. He is the drummer in the City Lit Percussion Orchestra – who will perform shortly at the Reception following the ceremony - he also plays in two other bands, as well as writing lyrics and poems himself. Victoria has studied acting and visual arts courses and is also James’s mother. They both wanted to be able pursue their own creative interests, and City Lit has provided them with the ability and peace of mind to follow their own pursuits separately, while studying in the same building. Watch the video


City Lit Centenary Awards Ceremony Video