A FORMER pupil is set to return to The Stourport High School and VIth Form College, 33 years after completing his own secondary education there.
Marcus Hayes, a commercial litigation lawyer, will run a series of student workshops and be the school’s guest speaker at its annual awards evening next month.
The awards evening celebrates and recognises the success and achievement of the school’s students.
Mr Hayes, who left the school in 1981, heads up award-winning law firm, Mason Hayes, which has offices in Manchester and London. Rated among the best in the UK by the Legal 500 and Chambers UK, the independent guides to the UK legal profession, Mason Hayes was a finalist earlier this year at the Manchester Legal Awards.
Mr Hayes, one of only 10 solicitors practising in England and Wales to be shortlisted in the category of Solicitor of the Year at the national 2013 Law Society Excellence Awards, regularly acts for prominent public and private concerns and wealthy individuals, both in the UK and overseas.
He has been retained in matters as diverse as the Channel Tunnel litigation, brought claims on behalf of television entertainers, soap stars and Premiership footballers and travelled to Macedonia to work with clients and the British Embassy in relation to alleged breaches of the Serbia and Montenegro embargo.
In 2013 Mr Hayes advised in a £40 million telecommunications tax dispute in the European Court and in a £150 million claim between two international telecommunications brands.
Mr Hayes is also actively involved in charitable initiatives and in 2010 established his own charity, The Mason Hayes Charitable Trust. The trust has raised thousands of pounds for national charities, has helped to widen access to careers in law through funding, work experience and mentoring support and has internationally supported the education of Romanian orphaned children.
In recent years the trust has supported students attending the University of Sussex, where Mr Hayes studied, and where he has been added as a legal alumni.
In July this year Mr Hayes will be awarded a Fellowship from the university in recognition of his advocacy and mentoring and other voluntary work on its behalf. In 2013, in conjunction with the University of Sussex, the Mason Hayes first-generation scholarship scheme was shortlisted in the Widening Participation category at The Times Higher Education Awards.
The trust is also involved in special needs education which, this year, has seen Mr Hayes meet ministers, civil servants and MPs as he continues to highlight the needs and educational requirements of autistic children.
Working with the National Autistic Society, Mr Hayes aims to establish a national pro-bono legal service for parents with autistic children as well as an internship programme for autistic undergraduates.
Aside from law and charity initiatives, Mr Hayes was active in local and national politics until 2005. Elected to Cheshire Borough Council in the 1990s he became the council's youngest councillor. During 2014 Mr Hayes has worked with the Government on a variety of its potential commercial and civil justice reforms.
Returning to the school Mr Hayes will look to inspire and encourage students and use his own experiences since leaving school to illustrate how anyone can succeed and achieve their career goals.
He said: “Naturally I am thrilled to have been invited back to the school where my own journey began. If, during my visit, I can help to inspire students to follow their own aspirations then my visit will have been worthwhile.”