JOANNA Tomkin has become a pioneer.

The 24-year-old trainee barrister has become the first black woman to lead a 400-year-old legal group – and puts her outstanding success down to her Huddersfield schooldays.

Former Royds Hall High School student Joanna has made history by becoming the first black female president of the Middle Temple Student Association, an ancient establishment to which all legal professionals belong.

Joanna attributes much of her success to her education in Huddersfield where she was brought up by her mum, Ann, along with her four sisters Carol, Mandy, Donna and Angela.

“I was always fascinated by law and the legal profession, discussion and debate,” said Joanna who also attended Bradley Junior and Infant and Nursery schools.

“I was always chosen to be the lead narrator in school plays and I believe this is what shaped my future into what it is today.”

Joanna studied at Teeside University for a law degree and was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for her fundraising and the Sweet and Maxwell Prize for Law.

She then completed a master law degree in international law at Leeds University and was offered a place to study the Bar Vocational Course at City Law School, formerly Inns of Court School of Law.

After only two weeks on the course she opted to run for president of her inn of court and was elected becoming the first black female to achieve the role.

This year is the 400th anniversary celebrations of the Middle Temple and Joanna attended celebrations attended by the Queen and Prince Philip.

Joanna, who spoke to the Examiner during Black History month, said although very much a minority within her chosen field, she had never suffered any racism.

Joanna has firm ambitions and aims to become a QC in the North of England and go on to become a judge.