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Melksham’s inspirational young people recognised

The winners from the evening.

The winners from the evening.

Inspiring young people of Melksham have been recognised for their ‘outstanding’ services within the community at a special awards ceremony last week.

Melksham’s Assembly Hall was packed as people turned out for only the second ever Young People’s Awards Ceremony in Melksham on Wednesday 12th of November.

14 awards were presented to inspirational young people from Melksham and the surrounding area, that acknowledged the work they do in the local community.

The awards night was set up by the charity Extended Services (Melksham Area) who will now aim to continue to make this an annual event.

Chair of Melksham Extended Services Jon Hubbard said, “The event was fantastic. I think what made it so marvellous is the people of Melksham chose to come out and recognise the achievements of the town’s young people.

“Every single one of the nominees are awesome young people and the whole town should be proud of what they have achieved. There has been some amazing stories and choosing the winners was so so difficult – but that’s the standard we have here in Melksham.”

The event also saw funding confirmed for community projects in Melksham. This included grants for St George’s School – Learning Journey Path, River Mead School – Welly Wednesday Gardening Club and Spurgeons – volunteer mentoring scheme.

Amongst those presenting awards was Sam Richards (Selwood Housing), Diana Malling (Sainsbury’s), PCSO Chris Pugh (Wiltshire Police), Richy from Matt Fiddes Organisation, Carolyn Godfrey (Wiltshire Council), MP Duncan Hames, Jack Oatley, Elena Rossi, Mayor Terri Welch, John Hunter (Sainsbury’s), Superintendent Nick John (Wiltshire Police) and Ian Drew (Editor of Melksham News).

Extended Services (Melksham Area) has described the huge achievements of the winners of the awards as follows:-

Sporting Individual Award: Luke Preston. Luke competes in Honda Cadet Kart Racing around the south of England and, over the last year, has made excellent progress in his racing endeavours.  He has won novice trophies, before qualifying for his National B Licence and has recently upgraded his race licence to National A, which means he can now enter Super One series, which is regarded as the premier karting championship in the UK.

Luke is now being sponsored by Gillard Karts and DKS engines and has an exciting series of Super One races coming up in 2015; we may even see him on the TV! He gives 100% and his achievements to date demonstrate his commitment and determination to his chosen sport.

Sporting Team Award: Melksham Town Under 16s Tornadoes. In 2012-13 season, the team were not performing as Under 15s.  However, with the new season, the now Under 16s had new management and their leadership helped to shape the players; developing both their individual football skills and importantly moral, direction, teamwork, good sportsmanship, discipline and empathy.

This is a true underdog story; to see the team work together, trust each other and take on teams as equals, progressing in cup matches and coming second in the league, is testament to their belief in themselves and their management to act as a team. They are a credit to Melksham and should be seen as positive role models for others in the community.

School Council Award: Forest and Sandridge School Council. The School Council is extremely proactive in making improvements to their school.  They have a high profile in the school and children know who the councillors are.

Over the last year, they have done an excellent job of raising money for charities, including cancer research; supported children in school who were independently raising money for their own causes; set up and led playground challenges for their school friends to encourage more active playtimes; input into the school’s anti-bullying policy and the vision, values and behaviour policies. They are a fantastic team; their impact on the whole school and the wider community issues is something to celebrate!

Young Individual Arts Award: Lola Brady. Lola has been performing since the age of 3, in local amateur shows as well as ballet shows and street dance performances.

She has also been auditioned for the role of Matilda in London’s West End where she showed incredible confidence. This year, Lola has taken two ballet exams and has continued to work incredibly hard which resulted in her winning a silver medal in both exams.

She is always dancing, singing and making up routines to the music she hears; constantly practising and dancing with her soul.

Young Team Arts Award: Seend School Choir. The school choir regularly practise and perform in their own time; rehearsing each week and attending evening and weekend events, which are organised by the school or local community.  They have sung at a local residential home at Christmas time and provide the all-important harmonies at church services with the other children in the school.

They are a real asset to the school and the community.

Young Carer Award: Freddie Skinner. Freddie’s mum and dad are foster carers and he has been nominated for this award because of his help and support to young foster children who come to live with him and his family.

Freddie has shown so much empathy and care to a little girl and has helped teach her new skills such as riding her bike and learning to swim, helping her to read and gain social skills.  He is a big brother to the children who come to share his home. He is appreciated so much by his mum and dad and is a special young carer.

Young Carer Award: William Hynes. William cares for his younger brother, Jake, who has been poorly since he was born.  William will read and play a game with him when he is grumpy about having to go to hospital; he finds new things for him to try at the supermarket because of his special diet and makes his brother laugh when they Facetime each other when they are apart.

William always finds the good in things and helps Jake to look on the bright side, even when he is sad.  William does so much for Jake and has recently become a young carer with Spurgeons. Jake is so proud of his big brother and wants everyone to know what a great Young Carer he is.

Young Voice Award: Lee Gunton. Lee is passionate about helping young people to get their voices heard and to end the stereotype that ‘all young people are violent and wear hoodies’.

He is a Young Commissioner and has a key role in ensuring that young people are involved in every stage of future planning and development of services for young people.  Lee was involved in writing and developing a film about cyberbullying, which has been placed on the websites of a number of national organisations.

Lee also stood in the 2014 Wiltshire Assembly for Youth and UK Youth Parliament elections.  He secured a place on both with an amazing 3252 votes from young people (the highest number of votes throughout the county). He never stops and works hard to ensure that the voice of young people is heard.

Volunteering Award:Douglas Mackenzie. Douglas has always demonstrated his scouting skills and been part of the group from Beaver age, progressing through Cubs, Scouts and is now an Explorer.

He volunteers with the Beaver section as a young leader to support the group, pass on his skills and develop further as a young person. Because of his superb scouting skills, he has also taken on the role of skills expert in wood carving and tutors Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders.

Douglas’ support, charm, temperament and willingness to join in demonstrate his commitment to the community and its young people.

Young Leader: Sally Crudge. Last year, Sally successfully completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award whilst completing her studies.  She also gave up a lot of her time to help others complete their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

She volunteered at a number of Duke of Edinburgh camps by helping and supporting young students and ensuring the camp fire was lit! She has so much enthusiasm and a great sense of humour.

Young Achiever Award (11 and Under): Laura Curtis. Although Laura has only been playing golf for 2 years, she has won the junior masters title along with wins in numerous monthly junior and ladies competitions this year.   She has achieved this despite initial negative comments from her peers.

She won the Welsh Regional Qualifier for the Wee Wonder UK National Golf Championships, qualifying her for the national final at St Andrews, which was held in August this year.  Finishing 13th overall in the final, she scored the 5th best round of the tournament on the final day. Laura has also qualified for the USKG European Championships being held at Gullane Scotland in May 2015.

Young Achiever (12-18): Callum Howard. Callum was born with a serious lung condition; he manages his condition with a lot of medication but can get ill very quickly which has meant that he has been in and out of hospital his whole life.  Three years ago he was struck down by a virus, which caused Callum to suffer with juvenile arthritis, which means that he is in constant pain with his legs and pains in his chest from his chest condition.

Despite all this, Callum plays football for Melksham Town FC and gives his best every time. He has been through a lot but he never lets it get to him; he always has a smile on his face and will do anything for anyone.  He is a true superstar.

Outstanding Achiever Award (11 and Under): Toby Potter. Toby was nominated for his commitment to his beloved sport of Motocross.  He was given his first Motocross bike at the age of 4 and started racing when he was 6; coming 6th out of 40 children in his very first race!

He has raced most weeks from this point and moved on a year early to the next age category and won everything!  He has competed in national competitions; coming 3rd overall and won 8 out of his 10 races. He has competed in the Red Bull Pro-Nationals and the Western Super Mare Beach Race.  Next year he is planning to take part in the British Youth Nationals, which will mean competing in Europe.

He is highly committed to his sport but very modest about his abilities.  This is the opportunity to celebrate his achievement and show how proud everyone is of him.

Outstanding Achiever Award (12-18): Peter Crudge. Peter has shown himself to be a quietly confident young man with a desire to achieve at the highest level he can aspire to.

He is conscientious, meets deadlines and has a real desire to succeed, which is backed up by achieving 2 Grade As and one Grade B at AS level. This is one of the best results within the school group currently in Year 13.