Service Above Self
Rotary Club of Taunton
PRIDE OF SOMERSET YOUTH AWARDS 2017 The first award tonight goes to a world champion who is as at home on the open water as he is on land. Jamie Harris from Axbridge is 15 years old, and at Christmas he won the Cadet Class in sailing at the World Championships in Argentina. Jamie was nominated by Robert Wright, who says “this is an astonishing achievement for a 15-year-old to travel that distance and become World Champion. The next award goes to a young lady who has raised – and has inspired others to raise – 32 THOUSAND pounds for charity. And she’s only five! Ellie Payne from Midsomer Norton was born with a rare heart condition and had open heart surgery at just ten weeks old; but despite that she’s collected money in supermarkets, hosted cake sales, busked in the market and hosted a sponsored walk every year. Ellie’s mum Jenny says she would love to see Ellie’s efforts and determination acknowledged. Another extraordinary little girl is Esme Deacon from Wells. She’s six years old and she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia last June. And together with her mum and dad she’s raised more than £5,000 for a number of charities. Emily Gibson, who nominated Esme, says she made her parents organise a Christmas party at the children’s ward at Musgrove Park Hospital – and Emily says Esme’s “joy and humour extends to helping several other children with similar diagnoses”, and calls her an “inspiration … The next award goes to someone who’s described as “cheerful, always with a smile, a bubbly girl, eager to help and to please”. Naomi New from Shepton Mallet was nominated for all the work she does caring for her mum and her younger brothers. Naomi was nominated by Julie Rickwood from the Somerset Young Carers Project: Julie says Naomi has so many adult responsibilities – but she doesn’t moan and takes life in her stride Last September seven year 9 pupils from Taunton School swam the English Channel as part of a relay – raising between them almost 30 thousand pounds for two charities. And as if that’s not enough, they’re now planning to swim around the Croatian islands, and hoping to break the world record for swimming around Jersey. Please give a very big round of applause to Jonathan, Imogen, Emily, Annabelle, Emma, Skyla and Oliver… Jenna Dabenett from Woolavington does a whole load of fund-raising and community activities – from shaving her head for charity, to helping out at her local dance studio, to taking part in the local air cadets. Jenna was nominated by Alan Scott from Puriton: Alan says she’s “one of the most generous and thoughtful children I know”. Charlie Main lives in Stoke-sub-Hambdon: and it sounds like he does a huge amount for the village. He’s recently set up a trainee brass band for Stoke, he volunteers at the village youth club, helps out at the local primary school and gives advice on computer problems, in return for a charity donation. Evan Thomas nominated Charlie, and says he’s a “most exceptional man who’s always helping others”. It certainly sounds like Stoke-sub-Hambdon is very proud. Archie Stannett was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame earlier this year for his dedication to the sport; and in a month or so’s time he’s being graded for his second dan. Mark Nation from the Somerset Kickboxing Academy nominated Archie for this award, saying he “conducts himself in a very respectful manner and always represents the sport in an extremely positive light.” The next award goes to a young man who spent Christmas Eve packing bags to raise money for the Yeovil College children’s centre. The lady who nominated 14-year-old Ben Hodgson from Yeovil says “he makes us proud because he goes the extra mile”: and that includes organising a cake sale to raise money for a family friend to get medical treatment, as well as giving up huge amounts of his time helping out back stage at a school production. Annabel Brown is 17 years old, and she certainly hasn’t let anything hold her back. She hasn’t had the easiest start in life but she’s now not only an ambassador for the National Citizen Service, she’s also a member of the Regional Youth Board representing the NCS in Somerset. We’re going to be entertained by the Somerset County Youth Show Choir – who, together with their friends in the County Youth Choir, do an amazing job showing off Somerset’s musical talents in singing competitions around the country. They’re going to perform for us in a moment; but first please welcome three representatives from the two choirs to the stage so that they can collect a certificate… The winner of the next award has been through one of the hardest experiences anyone can go through: the death of her very best friend. But Victoria Roberts from High Littleton has turned something so sad into something really, really decided after her best friend Emma died, that she wanted to continue Emma’s fundraising for Brain Tumour Research: so together with her mascot Daisy Bear, she put on a Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest mass-crocheting event ever, on the anniversary of Emma’s death. Later this year she’s due to do a wing-walk for the charity; and she’s brought all her friends and community together. I’m sure Emma would be so proud of everything that Victoria’s achieved in her memory; Joe Heath has been described as “generous, talented, with a passion for education, always encouraging others to be the best versions of themselves”. Joe’s from Castle Cary – and not only has he achieved brilliant things academically, he’s also thrown himself into a life outside school: from leading an exchange to Zambia, to passing the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award, to taking part in the Rotary Club’s “Youth Speaks” competition. The next winner is another young man who’s had a brush with politicians, although this time on the other side of the table. 17-year-old Oliver Howell from Shepton Mallet has been caring for his parents since he was very young; and he recently travelled to Westminster to talk to MPs about what it’s like to be a young carer as part of the Young Carers’ Forum. As well as his caring role, Oli also finds time for studying, working AND volunteering with the scouts. Dave Willis from the Somerset Young Carers Project nominated Oli, describing him as “a credit to his family and his community”. The winner of this next award may be representing Great Britain at the Paralympics in a few years’ time! 14-year-old Lucy-Mae Bush from Peasedown St John is quite the horsewoman, despite having Braxius Plexus and scoliosis. Her skills in the saddle have seen her selected to ride for England at the British Dressage Para Home International, as well as be on the South West Para team. As well as all that, she also helps youngsters learn to ride at Wellow’s Riding for the Disabled – and that’s in amongst lots of hospital appointments. Lucy-Mae has been described as a “very happy, kind, thoughtful, dedicated young lady Last year 16-year-old Thea Priest from Taunton was the only student in the south of England to be selected for the England team at the European Shotokan Karate Championships. She also became a double national champion, and it sounds like she’s taking the karate world by storm. Thea was nominated by her instructor Peter Milne, who calls her “an inspiration and a role model to her fellow students”. Abigail Welch has been nominated by her head of year for the way she’s dealt with a really tough time. She had a tough start to her A Levels; but she didn’t let that stand in her way academically and personally. She’s a spokeswoman for the college, she raises money for charity and she helps out with younger pupils in their lessons. The college says this award would “recognise the fantastic young woman she is. Stephanie Smith from Frome has been a volunteer with British Eventing for more than ten years; and she stepped into the spotlight recently when she led a team of over 100 fence judges at Blenheim Palace. Alongside that she also cares for her mum; and as well as all of that, she also volunteers at Frome FM, helping younger children. Steph was nominated by Matt Sims, who calls her “an absolute credit to her parents, school and teachers”. The next award goes to a young man who’s been volunteering as a swimming coach for the last four years. Nathan Clarke from Highbridge can event count the Olympic swimmer James Guy among his pupils! It sounds like a whole new generation of young swimmers have been inspired by Nathan. The next award goes to someone from Frome who’s managed to deal with some really tough times, in what sounds like such a positive way. Benjamin Manning’s dad died from a very rare form of cancer in 2014; and Ben now gives young people emotional support as a mentor, helping them find coping strategies to deal with their own tough times. As well as all of that, Ben has recently done a sky dive to raise money for Dorothy House and Alzheimer’s UK This year’s Sandy Padgett award goes to a young woman for whom “can’t” doesn’t seem to be in the dictionary. As a carer for her older brother, Sophie Elston from Minehead lobbied MPs in Parliament to get more support for young carers. She’s an active member of the young carers’ forum, and represented hundreds of young carers across Somerset by taking part in the Somerset Plan for Young People. Sophie manages to do all of that alongside her full time college education – and as if that wasn’t enough, Sophie also find the time to run a dance group for young people with additional needs, supporting them to put on performances for the public. The final award goes to Annabel Flook who is one of the Lord Lieutenants Cadets. She has made outstanding progress in the Sea Cadet movement representing Somerset at National level in competitions and Sea Cadet Band and she will formally finish the evening by piping the event closed