Inspiring youngsters take the honours

Hannah Sharman and the Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis
Hannah Sharman and the Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis

Inspirational young people from Chronicle Country swept the board at a county wide awards nights.

The finals of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Young People of the Year awards were held on Sunday.

Each winner was given money for themselves and for their chosen cause.

Hannah Sharman, of The Ridgeway in Potton, took first prize. The audience of 200 at the University of Bedfordshire’s theatre in Bedford heard how she worked with Potton Town Council and Central Beds Council to set up a youth club.

The 17-year-old obtained training for herself and her friends, found premises in Potton Pavilion and secured funding and an adult youth worker.

Mrs Helen Nellis, Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, said: “Hannah is a driving force for local young people and has the vision and ability to see a plan of action through to the very end.”

Second place went to Andrew Catherall, 16. He volunteers on six environmental projects as well as being a St John Ambulance cadet. He has worked with the Diamond Jubilee Task Force in Sandy, gardening for senior citizens.

He has gardened at Shortmead House in Biggleswade and helped improve the Crab Lane embankment in the town. He also owns his own litter picker.

Andrew, of The Close in Biggleswade, also attends Stratton Upper School.

Ben West, 23, came in third place. Ben, who lives in St Peters Avenue in Arlesey, has Asperger’s Syndrome but he overcame his lack of interpersonal skills in order to complete more than 1,000 hours of volunteering. He has helped run an alcohol-less pub for young people and he has led a community safety group for adults and youths in Biggleswade.

The junior winners were Brooke Fisher, Alanah Edwards, Jade Turner and Honor Willans, who are all young carers who attend Etonbury Academy in Arlesey.

Brooke and Honor help their families to care for their severely disabled brothers, Jade’s mother was disabled in a car crash and Alanah’s mother has cancer.

The awards were sponsored by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, The Jordans and Ryvita Company, Woodfines Solicitors., Movianto UK, Parripak, Blue Arrow, Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust, Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, Simon Whitbread Trust and Gayles Family Trust.