Kira McPherson, who has just completed her studies on the Performing Arts Extended Diploma in Dance Course at Pendleton Sixth Form College, has been chosen as the first recipient of the Manchester Arena Memorial Award and scholarship from the Soroptimist International of Manchester Organisation.  

Soroptimist International Manchester is part of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, and is an organisation that works at a local, national and international level to help improve the lives of women and girls across the globe.  

Following the horrific attack at the Manchester Arena last year, the group decided they wanted to do something in memory of the victims, which is when the Manchester Arena Memorial Award was born.

Rose Marginson, Soroptimist International Manchester’s past President, said: “The Soroptimist Manchester Arena Memorial Award was set up in memory of the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. Soroptimist International Manchester was set up to help women and girls have a better life and achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice.

“In the days following the terror attack we wanted to do something in memory of the victims. As an organisation, we do not have a substantial amount of money so instead of adding to the memorial fund we felt it was fitting to help a local, young girl achieve her dream in performing arts.”

Members of the organisation felt it was appropriate to choose to help someone with their career in performing arts as recognition for the Ariana Grande concert and the shared passion for music and performance those affected have.

Rose continued: “Knowing Pendleton’s reputation for performing arts I contacted Lucy Huntbach, Head of Performing and Production Arts at the college, to explain our idea.

“We were delighted to then present Pendleton’s Kira McPherson with our first award of £250 to go towards her auditions. She was chosen by the Performing Arts Team for her achievement and passion for dance and has now accepted a place at Urdang Academy in London.”

Lucy Huntbach, Head of Performing and Production Arts, Pendleton Sixth Form College, said: “We were delighted that the group came to us as the leading provider of performing arts education in the area.

“Their request was that we select a student who wants to progress in her career and training but might struggle to raise the funds to get to and pay for auditions.

“We had lots of contenders so a vote was held with all staff able to nominate and vote for a female student, with great potential, who had gone above and beyond when it came to her curricular and extra-curricular life within the department.

“The successful student was Kira McPherson, for her infectious energy and motivational approach to work. She has been in several college shows and is always willing to volunteer to support the department as an ambassador at audition days and open evenings.”

Kira was thrilled with her win expressing that she felt the money would greatly benefit her education. She said: “The money I have been awarded will benefit me in my future by helping me pay for university essentials and extra classes to further my training whilst living in London over the next three years.

(Kira was awarded by Rose at the Pendleton Annual Awards 2018)

And why did Kira believe she was the lucky recipient of the award? She said: “Within the Performing Arts Department I am always willing to help, whether it be in rehearsal with my peers or volunteering for events such as Tap Dance Festival UK. Due to this and my dedication to the arts, I feel as though that’s the reason I have been selected for the first Soroptimist International Manchester Arena Memorial Award, and I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”

The organisation plan to continue to give an award each year for at least 5-years to a Pendleton Sixth Form College student.

If you would like the opportunity to be recognised for your passion for the arts, why not call admissions on 0161 631 5000. Applications for September admission still open.