The Awards recognise outstanding young people in the region aged under 35 who have made an impact, whether nationally, regionally or locally. To date the Awards have raised more than £950,000 for young people in Yorkshire.
Awards Chairman Peter McCormick OBE said: “Reaching our 21st birthday is a major landmark and the Awards have come a long way since their inception. We have had some terrific winners over the years, many of whom continue to support our work, and I am sure 2013 will be as exciting as ever.
“We want to hear about young Yorkshire people who have made a difference. It doesn’t matter whether they are world famous or are known only within their own community. What is important is that they have had an impact because of their talent, fortitude or determination to achieve a better life.”
Two previous winners were on hand to launch the 2013 Awards. The 2012 Youngster of the Year, nine-year-old Evan Whitton of Silsden, was born with Cerebral Palsy and underwent pioneering spinal surgery to allow him to walk for the first time. Not only did he win the Award in 2012 but he also walked to school for the very first time, was chosen as the Yorkshire and Humber Flame Ambassador for the Paralympic Games, collecting the flame at a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square, and took up wheelchair racing.
He said: “I was flabbergasted to win and it was a real honour. I was really excited because there were so many people who could have won it.”
Also marking the launch was 2012 Unsung Hero Dr Kate Granger, 31, of Wakefield.
Dr Granger is an Elderly Medicine Registrar working at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kate, who is Huddersfield-born and bred and now lives with husband Chris in Wakefield, is the author of two books describing her experiences with cancer, one on her own experiences and the other aimed at healthcare professionals to help them understand what the patient is going through.
The Awards are open to young people who live, work or were born in Yorkshire and celebrate achievements in the fields of business, sport, education and the arts, in overcoming adversity and achieving fame and fortune. There is an Unsung Hero award as well as a Youngster of the Year to celebrate the achievement of a child under 12.
Nomination forms for the 2013 Yorkshire Young Achievers’ Awards are available on the Awards website at www.yorkshireyoungachievers.co.uk or by ringing Sonia Jones at McCormicks Solicitors on 01423 530630. The closing date for entries is Friday 27 September. The winners will be announced at the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards dinner on Thursday 14 November at the Leeds United Conference and Exhibition Centre. Tickets for the dinner are also now on sale and are available as above.
A host of Yorkshire stars have taken Awards over the years, such as Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh, Olympic gold medallist triathlete Alistair Brownlee, top Leeds band the Kaiser Chiefs, Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield, and England cricketers Michael Vaughan and Tim Bresnan.
There are seven Awards as follows:
- Personality of the Year (sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors)
- Youngster of the Year (DFS)
- Unsung Hero (Lunchbox Theatrical Productions Ltd)
- Achievement in the Arts (Yorkshire Evening Post)
- Achievement in Education (Positive Tax Solutions LLP)
- Achievement in Management and Enterprise (The Wetherby Whaler Group)
- Achievement in Sport (Leeds United Football Club)
The proceeds of the Awards are used by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation to help young people and projects benefiting them across Yorkshire. The aim in 2013 is to make 21 grants to mark the 21st anniversary. Recent grants have included one to help set up an Indian Music Youth Orchestra in Leeds, a day out for members of the Down’s Syndrome North Yorkshire Support Group and funding a soft play area at a special school.
Foundation grant recipient Doroteo Ronda Perez of Ripon was at the launch to demonstrate how the proceeds of the Awards are spent. Eight-year-old Doroteo has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair. His family had been fund raising to buy him a tandem wheelchair bike so that he can go on family bike rides and had already raised £1,180 when the Foundation stepped in to pay the rest of the cost of the specialist tandem which features a detachable wheelchair unit at the front.