Photo: Georgia Pocock (holding her certificate), with Kate Hardcastle and members of The Risk
Seventeen-year-old Georgia Pocock, from Penarth, Wales (UK) has just received a Diana Award, at a ceremony in London, where X-Factor band The Risk performed, and more than 60 youngsters were honoured for their volunteering efforts. The Awards were presented by TV personality and businesswoman Kate Hardcastle. Georgia, who attends St Cyres School, was the only Welsh award winner on this occasion. The inspirational teen – who spends her spare time volunteering for the Down’s Syndrome Association, teaching children to read and helping them participate in activities such as bowling – also cares for her sister, who has Down’s Syndrome. Georgia says she enjoys her volunteer work and hopes that the national recognition will inspire other young people to follow her example, giving their time to help others.
The Diana Award
Established in 1999, as a lasting legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is presented to young people who are committed to taking social action… volunteers, fundraisers, campaigners, carers, and others working to improve their community. It is based on the Princess’ belief that young people have the power to change the world. Around 39,000 young people have received the Award, to date. For more information, or to make a nomination, visit diana-award.org.uk/.
The Chreda Prize
Here at the Chreda Foundation we, too, believe that young people hold the future of our world in their hands, and we are also planning an award scheme to encourage volunteering activities such as this. We have a special interest in the social welfare of people with learning difficulties (which often accompany Down’s Syndrome), so we are delighted to see this young lady’s dedication feted at such a high-profile event.
It’s that time of year again – when achievers, young and old, are recognised through the New Year’s Honours List, which was announced yesterday by the Cabinet Office. This year a total of 1,223 people were recommended to Her Majesty the Queen for an award, 72% of them for outstanding work that they have undertaken in the community.
Of these awards, 247 were OBEs, and one special recipient is Swansea’s 18-year-old Paralympic swimming star, Olchfa Comprehensive School pupil Ellie Simmonds. Already the proud recipient of an MBE, Ellie is now the youngest person in living memory to be granted an OBE.
The teenager, who trains in Swansea, and took a double gold in this summer’s Paralympic Games, said: “It’s been a great honour to be included in the list which caps an amazing year for me personally and for British sport.”
Ellie, who has achondroplasia dwarfism, is aiming to qualify for the swimming World Championships in Canada in the summer, and also has her eyes set on the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. She even hopes to take part in the 2020 and 2024 Games.
It’s great to see a local teen making her mark like this. Well done, Ellie – and good luck in your future ventures: I’m sure that you are an inspiration to other young people, particularly here in South Wales!
Photo credit: John Marshall
Gary Barlow was recognised last night for his work with British music and charities, at the 2012 Music Industry Trusts Award ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London: this was the 21st year that the Awards have been celebrated, and there were over 1200 guests in attendance. Gary was presented with his Award by a previous winner, Sir Elton John. The X-Factor (UK) judge, Take That singer/songwriter and producer played down the honour (which he said he was flattered to receive), when he emphasised that the true reason for the Award dinner was to raise funds for a couple of very deserving UK music industry charities…Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT Performing Arts & Technology School. Take That performed during the evening, as did Robbie Williams and Paloma Faith. In a pre-recorded video played during the evening, Gary was described by HRH The Prince of Wales as a “National Treasure”.
Last Monday (24 September) 65 young role models were celebrated at the Diana Awards, held at Canary Wharf, in London. The Diana Award organisation is a charity that was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was herself a tireless campaigner. It recognises the efforts and impacts of young people between the ages of 9 and 18, by making awards in five areas:
- The Diana Anti-Bullying Award Champion, for tackling bullying in schools and communities;
- The Diana Active Campaigner, for running campaigns in schools and communities;
- The Diana Champion Fundraiser, for raising money for good causes;
- The Diana Champion Volunteer, for giving time to improve the lives of others; and
- The Diana Courageous Citizen, for a courageous approach to life that has made a direct impact on the lives of others.
There are now 5,000 Award holders across the UK, and International Awards are also given by the charity.
This year’s presentations were made by celebrities including Team GB Paralympic member and Sitting Volleyballer Martine Wright, as well as singer and Diana Award Ambassador Sinitta. As Ms Wright says, the winners of the Awards “are inspiring their generation to take a positive role in their communities.” Inspiring young people is, of course, also one of the key aims of the Chreda Foundation, which is the charity behind this website.
Generosity News, by design, tends to focus mostly on young people: this is because of its close links with the Chreda Foundation. But from time to time I come across examples of older people’s charitable activities that I feel ought to be recognised here. And few of them are any older than the charity worker I’m featuring today.
As a Bristolian by birth (although we moved away from there before my 6th birthday) I couldn’t miss the opportunity of honouring Ruth Perkins, whose story I came across last weekend. At a time of life when many people are putting their feet up, this 92-year-old is running a charity for disadvantaged elderly people! And that’s despite having had three hip operations.
Ruth’s main charity outlet is as chairwoman of the Filton-based charity Self Help Enterprise (SHE7), which she has been involved with for 40 years. Her most active role there is helping out with the bingo and lunch clubs – the latter involves preparing three-course meals for up to 40 people at a time. She also knits gloves, socks and tea cosies, to help raise funds via the charity’s little shop. She says that many of the people the charity serves are lonely and struggling – especially as a result of relationship breakdowns – so they really appreciate the service it provides.
Aside from her busy schedule with SHE7 Ruth also collects for Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, St Peter’s Hospice and motor neurone disease. She often spends the entire day at the local supermarket with her collecting bucket.
Justifiably, Ruth’s sterling efforts have been rewarded. She has been honoured three times for her services to the community, and on one of these occasions she was privileged to attend a royal garden party.