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Ben: Popular student had so much potential

PUBLISHED: 10:31 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:17 22 July 2010

Ben Kinsella (far right) when he played for his school in the Islington Gazette Cup final at Emirates Stadium

Ben Kinsella (far right) when he played for his school in the Islington Gazette Cup final at Emirates Stadium

TEENAGER Ben Kinsella was a straight-A student – and one of the most popular students at his school. Ben had just taken his GCSEs at Holloway School in Hilldrop Road, Holloway, after studying there for five years.

TEENAGER Ben Kinsella was a straight-A student - and one of the "most popular" students at his school.

Ben had just taken his GCSEs at Holloway School in Hilldrop Road, Holloway, after studying there for five years - and was expecting to receive a clutch of good grades in August.

The former pupil of Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Primary School, in Boadicea Street, Islington, was particularly talented in art, and hoped to be a graphic designer.

But he was also a keen footballer. He used to play for the Copenhagen Youth Project and last year, his school team also reached the Islington Gazette Schools Cup final - and Ben got a chance to play at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

It was the first year that the cup final was held at Arsenal's new ground in Ashburton Grove, Holloway. But Ben's team lost 2-0 to rivals St Aloysius' College.Like his actress sister Brooke Kinsella, Ben was also interested in acting - he had acted in an episode of ITV cop drama The Bill in 2004 - but friends said it was more of a hobby.

Bob Hamlyn, the headteacher of Holloway School, visited the Kinsella family on Monday - the day after the killing.He said: "We are all devastated. Ben had so much going for him, not least a loving and supportive family, some fantastic friends, and a great future ahead of him. It is not an exaggeration to say he was one of the most popular students in the school, with both staff and fellow pupils.

"Ben had completed five successful years here, and was looking forward to some excellent results in the summer as a reward for his hard work and positive attitude."

Holloway School held a special assembly for each year group on Monday and is also setting up a book of condolence for staff and students to sign. The school is likely to put together a permaneent memorial to Ben.

Mr Hamlyn said: "This is a really difficult time for all of us at school, but we are determined to stay strong for Ben's sake, and for the sake of his wonderful family and friends.

"Every year we say goodbye to our 16-year-olds as they go on to pursue college courses and careers, knowing we have tried our best to support and prepare them for the world that awaits them. It feels so wrong to say goodbye forever to one who had so much potential and who had only just started on his journey.

"The school will never forget Ben. We have set up books of condolence in the school, and we will work closely with the family to ensure we have a fitting, lasting memorial." He added: "The randomness of this act underlines the growing menace of knives and violence on our streets. This has to stop."

Stephen Griffiths, senior play worker at the Copenhagen Youth Project, in Copenhagen Street, Islington, had known Ben for many years. He said: "Ben and his cousins used to come to the play club when they were younger and in recent years ben used to play in some of the football tournaments we run.

"He was a good footballer and a very capable young man. He was a really nice person. He was never abusive or rude and he seemed to get on with everyone. People liked him and I've spoken to his old school friends since he was killed and none of them can believe it. They're all completely shocked that something like this would have happened to someone like him.


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