There was a mixture of emotions as the son of a murdered Wigan submariner passed out at military college.
Jamie Molyneux, whose heroic father Ian was shot dead while serving on board HMS Astute in 2011, was also selected as the best naval officer cadet at Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College.
He has been studying there since leaving St John Fisher in Beech Hill in 2014.
The 18-year-old’s delighted mum Gillian watched on with pride as he passed out with his classmates at the weekend.
Jamie will now focus on pursuing a naval career, following firmly in his father’s footsteps after heading off to university where he will study engineering.
“It was a great day, I really enjoyed it,” said the youngster.
He has worked so hard for this. There have been times where he has struggled and questioned if he was doing the right thing but he has got through it and done so wellGillian Molyneux
“It was a very proud moment to stand in front of so many people.
“I couldn’t believe I was selected as the best naval cadet.
“It’s judged by our officer commander so it means a lot.
“It’s been hard at times but I’ve got a lot out of it to take forward to university and then training.
“I would hope my dad was looking down too and that he will be in a few years time when I am hopefully passing out at Dartmouth as well.”
Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux was killed by able seaman Ryan Donovan, who ran amok while the submarine was docked in Southampton.
The courageous father-of-four died while protecting others, attempting to prevent the gunman from killing more people.
Since his death, the Molyneux family, who live in Springfield, have done everything to keep his memory alive.
Their second eldest son Arron is this year carrying out the role of Mayoral cadet.
Mum Gillian said: “It was a very proud moment to see Jamie pass out.
“He has worked so hard for this. There have been times where he has struggled and questioned if he was doing the right thing but he has got through it and done so well.
“It was a very emotional moment, I’m sure Ian was looking down with pride. There were a few other parents there who are in the navy so to not have Ian there was difficult.
“It was a very happy day though and we are all so proud.
“Welbeck has the best of the best there so for him to do so well in such a tough environment is fantastic.
“It’s been a long awaited event; these last two years have been a slog but he has got there.”