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The High Sheriff of Lancashire's Young Citizen Awards

The High Sheriff of Lancashire's Young Citizen of the Year 2011 Award Winners

A TEENAGER who turned his life around to become a role model for others has won the High Sheriff’s Young Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

15-year-old Ashley Thompson, from Blackpool, received his award during a special ceremony at Lancashire Police’s headquarters.

The High Sheriff of Lancashire's Young Citizen of the Year Awards, sponsored by BAE Systems, take place every year and involve the current High Sheriff Peter Mileham inviting applications to find a young person who has helped either their local neighbourhood, an individual, family member or local organisation.

Ashley won the award after the judges heard about how his life has changed since he joined the Boathouse Project in Blackpool. He first attended when he was 12, due to his disinterest in school and often challenging behaviour. The sessions enabled him to see the opportunities available to him and he progressed through the project to become a young leader. Among his many responsibilities, he currently chairs the project’s youth council meeting, tasks other attendees and delivers sessions to children aged between five and ten.

Laurence Hancock, from Boathouse Project, said: “Ashley is a credit to our organisation, and in all honesty, we would struggle to replace him if he ever left because of how beneficial he is to our operations. His most inspiring talent is his ability to listen, empathise and relate with his peers. Many people lead with authority and power but Ashley is a natural born leader because he genuinely cares about those he is leading and whilst he has no legal responsibility because he is so young, he takes a huge amount of moral responsibility for his age.”

The runners up were Sammy Eaton, 15, from Skelmersdale, and Ashleigh Wood, 13, also from Skelmersdale.

Sammy has been coaching adults with learning difficulties at the Skem Men-Aces football team for the past two years. She attends courses run by Lancashire Football Association to keep up to date with the rules and regulations and health and safety issues and maintains the Skem Men-Aces website. Sammy is also learning Makaton, a form of sign language designed for adults with learning difficulties, as many of the players use it.

Ashleigh is a member of Skelmersdale Action for Youth and has demonstrated what young people can achieve with little or no amenities. She has worked alongside the police, fire and rescue service and many other agencies, to break down barriers between them and the younger end of the community, enabling them to arrange various activities. She has also made bids for money to fund these events which help to reduce anti social behaviour and to enable them to examine how domestic violence affects young people in the various communities within West Lancashire and the surrounding areas.

For the first time a new team award was introduced at the ceremony. The winners were announced as Lancashire Fire and Rescue Prince’s Trust Blackpool Team 52, consisting of Toni Armstrong, Rhian Farrell, Che Kerrigan, Usman Majeed, Aaron McDermot, Alison McQuade, Daniel Pilkington, Mhairi-Jane Roberts, Zoe Shaw, Blake Van-De-Ruyter, Jack Walsh, Debbie Hornby and Mark Hodgson.

The team come from a variety of vulnerable backgrounds and have shown remarkable determination to overcome personal barriers in such a short time. Together they built a decking area and painted garden fixtures and furniture at the charity Donna’s Dream House in Blackpool, as they wanted to make improvements that would benefit the families who stay there. The project would have cost the charity around £3,000 without the young people’s help. Greg Plummer, who worked with the group, said: “By completing this project, Team 52 have realised a major sense of self belief and achievement for themselves and most importantly for the sick children and their families who visit Donna’s Dream House every year.”

Ashley received a trophy and £250, with £250 going to his chosen charity, while Sammy and Ashleigh received £100 each and Team 52 received £150 with a trophy.

High Sheriff Peter Mileham said: “These days young people tend to get a bad press because, as often happens, the majority are let down by the actions of a few. I am delighted to be able to reverse that trend and celebrate and promote the young people’s achievements and highlight the valuable contribution that they make to the communities in which they live.”

BAE Systems were once again title sponsor for this year’s Awards, and are proud to be associated with the scheme. Ian Wood, Samlesbury Site Director at BAE Systems, said: “It’s refreshing to come to come across a scheme that recognises and celebrates young people’s achievements, and acknowledges the contribution they make to the communities where they live or work.

“Making a difference in the community is an easy thing to say, but it takes drive, determination and dedication to make it happen – and these are attributes that all of the finalists have displayed.”

The High Sheriff of Lancashire's Young Citizen of the Year 2010 Award Winners

The High Sheriff of Lancashire's 
Young Citizens of the Year 2010, Ryan Stubbs and Caitlin JonesTWO teenagers from Darwen and Preston were named joint winners of the High Sheriff’s Young Citizen of the Year Award 2010 in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

Caitlin Jones, from Darwen, and Ryan Stubbs, from Preston, received their awards during a special ceremony at Lancashire Police’s headquarters. More........

Sufyaan Patel - 2009 High Sheriff of Lancashire's Young Citizen of the Year


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