FIVE Bournemouth students who raised £4,000 in memory of their school friend have been given the Royal seal of approval.

The sixth-formers from Avonbourne College received a special award from Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace in recognition of their fundraising efforts in memory of Kyle Rees, who died when he was hit in the head with an indoor practice cricket ball.

They collected the Community Engagement award from the Tycoon in Schools competition, which is run by Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones and of which the prince is patron.

Calling themselves Team 4K, the students raised £4,000 for the Southampton General Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, which cared for Kyle.

As part of the Tycoon competition the team – Daniel May, Louis Rylance, Tom Mansfield, Reece McAneny and Sintija Morgan – received a loan of £1,000, which they turned into £4,000 profit.

Their efforts to involve fellow students, the community and businesses including Barclays, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Castlepoint and JP Morgan saw them win the special category in the national competition.

Reece said: “It was an amazing experience to go to Buckingham Palace and receive this award from Prince Andrew.

“We are so proud and still can’t believe the recognition we’ve received. However, we couldn't have got this far without the fantastic support of everybody in our college and our community.”

Avonbourne College’s executive headteacher, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, said: “The students have been really inspirational and we are so proud of them.

“They have engaged with the local community on many levels and using their entrepreneurial skills managed to raise a staggering £4,000 in just one month.”

Team 4K will be fundraising at Barclays, Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, on February 23. Barclays will match the amount they raise that day.