A TEENAGER'S 'mind-blowing' song has won her a prize awarded in memory of a former Cherwell School pupil.

Theo Laird claimed the Dan Hemingway Memorial awarded for her song Marmalade which she wrote, recorded, produced and sung, about a girl who sleeps to escape the difficulties of a her day to day life.

The £350 prize is given every year to one of the school’s sixth formers in memory of the former student, who died in 1991 after being knocked down while cycling along the A40 on Christmas morning.

The aspiring 19-year-old writer had left the school less than two years before he died and his parents Sue and John set up the award to inspire and encourage creative teenagers to pursue their a career in the arts.

Miss Laird, from Cutteslowe, said: "It was a huge surprise, I really didn't expect to win - the school told us about the competition and I thought I would enter a song I wrote - it's a sort of electronic folk mix.

"My music is always stuff I like listening to so it was nice to win the award and know that other people like it too.

"It's definitely what I want to do in the future so it was a great boost especially as the other entries were so good."

The 17-year-old, is part of the Young Women's Music Project, based in East Oxford and said the award would inspire her further in the industry.

She said: "I have always done my own thing with music but I'm now part of this great project.

"It can be difficult for women to break into the music industry but it's a great safe space to practice and develop as a musician."

The judges praised the high calibre of entries in the 24th year of the award - which included a play written by Jessica Kelsey which was performed by professional actors, a sculpture, a choreographed dance, paintings and even a website.

Dan's mum Sue Hemingway said: "The overall level of the entries was absolutely stunning.

"It's usually a difficult decision as it comes down to creativity but this year we had so many great entries.

"We had a Spring Play written by one of the pupils which was performed by professional actors, a sculpture, a dance which was wonderful and some amazing artwork."

But the judges - including record producer Miles Waters who has worked the likes of Eric Clapton and more recently James Blunt and KT Tunstall, author Will Wiles and Sue Hemingway herself - unanimously chose Theodora Laird as the winner for her song Marmalade.

Mrs Hemingway, who runs the HemingwayArt gallery in Pound Lane, Cassington, said the judges were blown away by her entry.

The 67-year-old said: "She has a fantastic voice it was actually quite mind blowing.

"We were really impressed by the fact she had not only written it and sung it so well but she had produced it too.

"Dan always wanted to be a writer and we set up the award to inspire others with creative potential and I hope we have done that again this year."