The principal of a Lynn school was tasked with a favour by the Queen when she presented one of his former students with a prestigious award.
Promising medical student Zane Tham received the Queen’s Gold Award at Sandringham House on Sunday to recognise the outstanding A-Level results he achieved at Lynn’s King Edward VII Academy last summer.
Academy principal Craig Morrison joined the 18-year-old for the special occasion, which marked the 150th anniversary since the medal was first awarded to a KES student.
Mr Morrison said: “The Queen was delighted to know it was the 150th anniversary of the first awarding of the medal and she asked me whether I might be able to compile a history of what has happened to the gold medal winners.
“She said she herself had tried to look into what has happened in their futures but with limited success, and I said if I found the time I’d write her a book. It was the first time I had met the Queen and I was hugely nervous but needn’t have been, she was a really lovely lady.”
Zane, who was named West Norfolk’s Student of the Year at the Lynn News Education Awards last November, is currently studying Medicine at University College London, after gaining A* grades in maths and biology, and A grades in chemistry and physics.
Zane, who was also joined by mum and dad Kim and Mun Tham at the medal presentation, said meeting the Queen was “an extremely surreal experience”.
He said: “She was really friendly and talked to me about university life and wanted to know about what I was doing in my course, as well as my experience at KES.
“She also asked me about my hobbies and I told her I like to play the violin and piano.”
Mr Morrison explained that the Gold Medal was conceived in 1864 in response to boys from KES parading for the Prince and Princess of Wales on their arrival in Lynn by train from Sandringham.
Prince Albert Edward was so impressed with the boys that he decided to award a Gold Medal to the best scholar that year. He also wanted to award it every year, one year to the best scholar studying classical subjects such as Latin and mathematics, and then in modern languages such as English literature another.
The medal was first awarded in April 1865 to H.Bristow. In 1866 and 1867 it was awarded to A. E. Flaxman for the two different subject areas, even though the Prince had originally asserted it should not be awarded to same boy twice.
Mr Morrison said the Gold Medal was a “real honour” for the Academy.
“It adds something very special to the sixth form experience at KES and I know it creates some friendly rivalry between the students,” he said.
“It’s good for the town and the area as a whole as well, and the Queen was under no illusion about the importance of KES to the town. When she spoke to me she was keen to hear about our progress; she is a huge supporter of the school.”
Before the medal presentation, the Queen also attended her usual Sunday morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham where she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Dressed in a long blue coat, the Queen smiled and waved as she stepped out of a Bentley, to a crowd of 100 people.
Prince Philip made the short journey from Sandringham House on foot, and joked with some of the crowd members about the weather.
Everyone who brought flowers for the Queen were advised by police to leave them by the church gate, from where they would be collected.