Uttlesford youngsters win Jack Petchey Foundation achievement awards

INSPIRATIONAL young people have been celebrated in a prestigious awards scheme.

Jack Petchey Achievement Awards were presented to 53 young people from secondary schools and clubs in Uttlesford last Thursday.

The winners, aged 11-25, had been nominated by their peers and leaders, winning awards for a variety of achievements but mostly for doing their best. They received medallions to go with their framed certificate and a cheque for �200.

Winners included Jake Wilson from Sampfords Youth Club. The 16-year-old asked if he could become a helper at the youth club and on his first night as a volunteer ran a quiz with some assistance from another young volunteer. He has since helped to run other activities on club nights including table tennis tournaments and other quizzes.

Jake has also been a great help in the tuck shop, setting it up, serving and then clearing it away at the end of the night.

JPF co-ordinator at the club, Janice Domin, described Jake as “an asset to the youth club”. He spent his grant award on a karting session for 12 members of the club.

Saffron Walden County High School student Brody Thomson, 14, was nominated for the award by his friends as well as his teachers. In 2011 Brody raised �100 for Comic Relief in a two-mile run. Not satisfied with that, he and another student, Jonathan Gadd, cycled a whopping 78 miles to raise over �500 for Children in Need.

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JPF co-ordinator at the school, Leon Young, said: “The nomination simply said ‘he is always thinking of ways to raise money for charity’. It could have said that the phrase ‘going the extra mile doesn’t do him justice’.”

Brody donated his grant award to a snooker club in Saffron Walden to encourage younger players like him to take up the game and provide lockers so they can leave their cues at the club.

VIPs attending the event at the Rhodes Art Complex in Bishop’s Stortford included Councillor Christina Cant, chairman of Uttlesford District Council, who said: “One of the things that amazes me is the spectrum of achievement being recognised through the Jack Petchey Foundation. Anyone who criticises youth should attend one of these awards ceremonies.”

The JPF awards scheme provides annual funding of �23,400 to youth organisations in the district and to date they have received �317,000 since funding started in 2000.

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