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Gary Barlow celebrates with FRA award winners

Take That’s Gary Barlow made a surprise appearance at today’s Fashion Retail Academy Awards ceremony hosted by Arcadia’s Sir Philip Green and M&S chief executive Marc Bolland.

Barlow appeared on stage to present the 2012 FRA Commitment Award to Shauna Harding, as this year’s graduating students were joined by a host of big industry names including Next’s Andrew Varley and Jill Easterbrook and Jason Tarry from Tesco.

Bolland, who presented the M&S Outstanding Student Award to student Owanate Gad Briggs, said the FRA was unique in the work it does to help prepare graduates for the business world and led a round of applause for its founder Green, who he thanked for his contribution to building its success.

The FRA opened seven years ago offering a vocational education to 16 year olds and above seeking a career in fashion retail.  Launching with 50 students, it now welcomes just under 700 people and has partnerships with 105 different retailers.

Green has previously said he would like to open a second Academy in the north, near Manchester, although details of this have yet to be confirmed.

Other 2012 FRA Award winners were:

NEXT OUTSTANDING STUDENT 2012 -Sophie Bolongaro, Higher Certificate Merchandising

TESCO OUTSTANDING STUDENT 2012 - Leigh Hart, Level 4 Buying & Merchandising

ARCADIA OUTSTANDING STUDENT 2012 - Briar Rolfe, National Diploma Fashion Clothing

COLORSET OUTSTANDING WINDOW AWARD - Jack Wright, Level 4 Visual Merchandising

FTCT COMMUNITY RECOGNITION AWARD - Michael Putz, Higher Certificate Merchandising

ACCENTURE FDA RETAIL AWARD - Lauren Ramsey, FdA Fashion Retail Management

ORACLE MERCHANDISING AWARD - Josie Townsend, Level 4 Buying & Merchandising

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