London Fields graduate Allison Vitalis is listed as a finalist in the British Education Awards

Allison Vitalis. Picture: University of East Anglia

Allison Vitalis. Picture: University of East Anglia - Credit: University of East Anglia

A single mother from London Fields is one of three finalists for a top prize at the British Education Awards.

Allison Vitalis, 44, of Albion Drive, has been chosen in the "degree category" for the awards which recognise the outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements of students.

While she studied at the University of East London, Allison was a curriculum ambassador for its widening participation team and she has also worked as a volunteer project director for the Charlie Burns Foundation and the Shaquan Sammy-Plummer Foundation charities, helping victims of knife crime.

Allison, a single mother-of-two, said: "This, on top of getting a first-class degree last year and winning a National Education Opportunities Network award, is really fantastic, especially after all the tough times I have been through trying to achieve my goals and bring up a family."

Allison first became interested in helping victims of knife crime three years ago when she worked part-time with the Hackney Playstreet organisation, which arranges for streets to be closed off at times so young people can freely play.

Allison said, "It was at that point I became aware of the effects of knife crime. Then my nephew, who is now 25, got stabbed. That made me even more convinced that something had to be done. Fortunately, he has recovered.

"I hope that the work I am doing is helping save lives and I hope that I have helped provide comfort to parents and families who have lost children through this kind of crime."

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Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on January 30.