The Personality of the Year Award at the gala dinner at Leeds United’s Centenary Pavilion, presented by the Chairman of the Awards, Peter McCormick OBE, went to 15-year-old comedian Jack Carroll of Brighouse.
The Awards mark the achievements of people aged 35 and under in seven categories, from the Arts to Management and Enterprise and are organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation. The Foundation was established to support young people in Yorkshire.
Peter McCormick said: “What a way to celebrate our 21st anniversary! Not only did we hear some terrific stories from our winners who have succeeded in all kinds of endeavours but we also topped the £1 million mark for the total raised over the years.
“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support from our sponsors and from guests at the Awards and we thank them wholeheartedly for helping us to support young people in Yorkshire.”
A number of previous winners were among the 400 guests who saw a Special Award to mark the event’s 21st birthday. BBC presenter Liz Green, who was the Awards’ first ever Personality of the Year, received the prize to mark her constant support for the Awards but was unable to attend due to ill health so her Award was received on her behalf by her mother, Susan Vaughey.
When told of her Award, Liz said winning her first Award had left her “gobsmacked” and was, and still is, “absolutely fantastic”. She has continued to support the Awards ever since, firstly because she believes that recognising the achievements of young people is incredibly important and secondly because of the money raised to support other young people in the region.
The full line up of winners was:
Personality of the Year, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors
Jack Carroll, 15, of Brighouse.
Jack has become Britain’s best-known “sit-down” stand-up comedian. He has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around.
His talent was first spotted by comedian Jason Manford who saw a video of him performing at his parents’ Silver wedding anniversary at the tender age of 12.
Since then Jack, who attends Brighouse High School, has been a runner-up in Britain’s Got Talent, received a Pride of Britain Award and starred in a CBBC television series. He has appeared on Loose Women and a fortnight ago, and just weeks after his 15th birthday, he appeared at the Hammersmith Apollo with Jason Manford.
He is not afraid to tackle all kinds of subjects – from disability to North Korea - and he writes his own material.
Youngster of the Year, sponsored by DFS Furniture Company
Cody Hartley, 11, of Thorpe near Wakefield
On her way to becoming a karate black belt, Cody learned about first aid and, after reading about a young boy who had died from a cardiac arrest during a swimming lesson, she set her mind on buying a defibrillator for her school.
Now, just six months on, she has raised enough money to supply one not only for her primary school but also for the Rodillian Academy where she started in September. She has also obtained training in the use of the machines for both schools and her work has also led to the donation of a third machine for her karate club.
Her fundraising efforts have ranged from doing 1,000 sponsored karate kicks, to a sponsored walk, and from car boot sells to selling special sunflower and heart badges. She is also raising funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance after a friend died in an accident this summer.
Achievement in the Arts, sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening Post
John Newman, 23, of Settle.
Singer John Newman has written and sung on two of the biggest dance hits in the UK charts in recent years: Rudimental’s Feel the Love and Not Giving In. His own album, Tribute, hit Number One in the UK charts three weeks ago, while single Love Me Again was top in July.
Born and brought up in Settle, John originally intended to be a mechanic but soon realised that music was taking over his life and moved to Leeds where he studied at the College of Music.
Soon after starting college, he lost two close friends in a car accident. This terrible experience shaped both his song-writing and his voice. After leaving college he moved to London where he met Piers Agget who went on to form Rudimental.
Last year saw another challenging time when he underwent surgery for a non-cancerous brain tumour, hearing Feel the Love on national radio for the first time while he was still in hospital.
He was unable to attend the Awards as he is currently touring Europe but a film of him being told the news by ITV Yorkshire’s Duncan Wood was shown.
Achievement in Management and Enterprise, sponsored by The Wetherby Whaler Group
Sophie Epstone, 32, of London (but born in Leeds).
Born in Leeds and heading for a career in international fashion marketing in London, Sophie found her path diverted when a friend of her brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006 and she decided to raise funds for young people suffering from cancer.
Her first step was a trek across Mount Everest, quickly followed by a new charity music festival called “Trekstock”, a name which subsequently stuck.
After two more international treks, a series of gigs and other fundraising initiatives, she registered Trekstock as an official charity in 2010. The charity has gone from strength to strength, with famous supporters including Henry Holland, Mark Ronson, Katie Perry, Sir Richard Branson and Alistair Darling.
In the last six months, Trekstock has partnered with retailer Whistles to bring out a range of accessories by high-profile guest designers; collaborated with One Direction’s Harry Styles and Liam Payne for a global campaign raising more than £500,000 and organised a third trek, this time tackling Mont Blanc.
Now the charity is focusing its attention on skin cancer, the second most-commonly diagnosed cancer in 15-34-year-olds.
Achievement in Sport, sponsored by Leeds United Football Club
Joe Root, 22, of Sheffield
Joe has had a meteoric rise to the top of English cricket and is currently part of the England squad taking on Australia in the Ashes. He could not, therefore, be at the Awards but was given the news before leaving for Australia and his parents attended to collect the Award.
Joe joined Sheffield Collegiate CC as a youngster, being mentored by former England captain (and Yorkshire Young Achiever) Michael Vaughan. He made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2010 aged just 19.
He was selected for the England Test squad last year and made his debut in the fourth test at Nagpur where he was top joint scorer with Kevin Pietersen, helping England secure the draw they need to record their first Test series win in India since 1984/85.
He has played in the New Zealand tour and the Champions Trophy as well as the Ashes series this year.
Achievement in Education, sponsored by Positive Tax Solutions
Rosie King, 15, of Horbury, Wakefield
Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when she was nine, Rosie found it difficult to socialise both at school and in general and learned to mix through role-playing games.
Her younger sister and brother both have severe forms of autism and she has used her own experiences to help them, and the rest of the family, to understand and find solutions during difficult times.
Rosie has also provided the illustrations for a book written by her mum, The Daily Journal of Arabella Crumblestone, which has an autistic hero, and, during publicity interviews for the book, it was recognised that she had presenting talents.
Determined to raise awareness of autism, she presented a special Newsround programme called My Autism and Me which won a Royal Television Society award in 2011; was nominated for a children’s BAFTA last year and this February won the Best Factual Programme award at the Emmys. She had to overcome the challenge of speaking about her emotions, something she has always found very difficult.
Now aged 15, she is studying hard for her GCSEs and planning a future career in television and film.
Unsung Hero, sponsored by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions
Will Southall, 20, of Garriston near Leyburn
At the age of 13 Will developed Osgood Schlatter Disease, a painful condition which affects the knees.
However, this July, aged 19, he put that to one side when he took on a five-day ultra marathon of 230km to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK, having had family members affected by the disease.
The Al Andalus Ultimate Trail takes place in southern Spain in July, with numerous long climbs and extremely high temperatures. On the longest day of the five, he spent nearly nine hours on the trail, climbing a total of 2,500m during the 42-mile section.
Running with two friends, they raised more than £8,000. Will finished 12th overall from the field of 52 runners and is believed to be the youngest person to have achieved this remarkable feat.
Special Award, sponsored by Walsh Taylor
Liz Green, BBC Radio Leeds
Huddersfield-born Liz was the first-ever winner of the Personality of the Year Award and has supported and promoted the Awards ever since.
This year she won a New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programmes Award in July for her documentary on America’s Death Row, to add to the two Sony Radio Gold Awards she has also received for her work at BBC Radio Leeds.