A talented footballer, a young woman who is fighting back after a catastrophic road accident and a Commonwealth Gold medallist were among seven young people who have gone above and beyond and were recognised at the 28th Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors, at Leeds United’s Centenary Pavilion.
The England Lionesses Golden Boot holder Beth Mead, who helped the team to its 2022 Euros win, took the Personality of the Year title, while Paralympic and Commonwealth gold medallist Hannah Cockroft took the Achievement in Sport title in front of 340 guests and the Unsung Hero Award went to Lucie Maguire who is rebuilding her life after an accident.
The Awards mark the achievements of young people in seven categories, from the Arts to Sport, and are organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation which has now raised more than £1.3m to support young people in Yorkshire. An eighth Award is made to a Foundation supporter.
The Chairman of the Awards, Peter McCormick OBE, said: “It was a very special evening after a break of three years because of the Covid pandemic and there was much to celebrate. There were stories of incredible fortitude and outstanding success and it is fair to say we continue to be amazed by the fantastic young people in our region.
“These Awards are our main fundraiser of the year and none of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors and our guests, many of whom have been with us almost since the beginning, and I am very proud that with their help, we were able to continue our grants programme helping young people across the region throughout the pandemic.”
The full line up of winners was:
Personality of the Year, sponsored by Rudding Park
Beth Mead of Whitby
Beth’s talent helped the England Lionesses to their historic Euros win this summer. She
grew up in a village north of Whitby, joining Middlesbrough Football Club’s Centre of Excellence at the age of ten and beginning her career in the under 14 and under 16 sides.
From there, she moved to Sunderland at the age of 16 and it proved a successful move, with her helping them win the league in both 2012-13 and 2013-14, winning the FA WPL Golden Boot and being named Sunderland Player of the Year in both seasons.
She turned professional when Sunderland were promoted to the FA Women’s Super League in 2014, while completing her studies at Teesside University and the following season she became the Women’s Super League’s youngest winner of the Golden Boot.
In 2017 she joined Arsenal, helping them to the 2017-18 FA Women’s League Cup and finishing as their top goal scorer. The same year she made her debut for the senior England women’s national football team, having represented England at every age level from under-15.
After injury and a truncated season due to Covid, she was left out of the Team GB squad for the Tokyo Olympics but bounced back last season. Voted Arsenal’s player of the season, she scored 11 times in a campaign which saw the club miss out on the title by just one point to Chelsea.
Beth became a household name during Euro 2022, claiming the Golden Boot and player of the tournament as the Lionesses won their first major tournament. She is the only English player to win the Golden Boot and player of the tournament at a senior Euros or World Cup and holds the record for most assists in WSL. She has also scored the most goals for England in a season this year, with her 14 surpassing Jimmy Greaves’ record of 13.
Youngster of the Year, sponsored by Nabarro McAllister
Archie Flintoft, seven, of Harrogate
Archie has a very rare life-changing condition which is currently incurable.
He was first diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA) when he was a baby. His mum notice he was pale and unresponsive and after visiting the GP he was rushed to hospital, receiving two transfusions at two different hospitals in two days. Numerous tests followed until a faulty gene causing DBA was identified.
He has to undergo three-weekly blood transfusions as well as medication all night every night delivered by a needle in his thigh to protect his liver and heart. He has become so good at dealing with this that he even puts the needle in himself sometimes but it does mean that he cannot do some of the things that other youngsters take for granted, like going for sleepovers with his friends.
He has now reached a total of nearly 100 blood transfusions, coping with endless visits to hospitals both in Yorkshire and London. Because he receives donor blood, the iron levels in his blood can build too high, hence the nightly medication.
His family have fundraised both for the DBAUK group and to help cover the cost of the frequent London trips.
Achievement in the Arts, sponsored by Martin Gerrard
Austin Haynes of Leeds.
Austin was signed up to drama school to help improve his confidence as a youngster and gained his first speaking role aged eight in ‘The A Word’ series two for the BBC, alongside Christopher Ecclestone.
Now at secondary school, he works hard to keep up with his studies, guitar playing and boxing, all whilst taking part in some major roles on screen. He put his guitar playing into good use, starring in the Co-op’s Christmas ad with younger brother Rocco.
Austin is proud of his Leeds and Yorkshire background and has been delighted to appear in a number of Yorkshire-based dramas, including Gentleman Jack, as well as a host of other productions such as The Duke, alongside Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.
Most recently, he played the lead role of Thomas in The Railway Children Return, alongside Sheridan Smith, Jenny Agutter, Tom Courteney and John Bradley, and has just wrapped on another film, “The Boys in the Boat”, where he was directed by George Clooney.
He was on television in October in both Channel 5’s All Creatures Great and Small and Channel 4’s Somewhere Boy.
He is interested in making his own films and finished his first formal script, a short film entitled Pride and Glory at the age of 13 and he is now working with Idle Work Factory to take the next steps in securing funding to direct and produce his own film.
Achievement in Management and Enterprise, sponsored by CHR Estates
Lucy Winn, of Whixley
Lucy Winn has overcome adversity to set up and run her own successful clothing business in London.
When she was 15, she woke up one morning to find the left-hand side of her face was paralysed. Investigations revealed a brain abscess, necessitating surgery and months in hospital for rehabilitation. She missed time at school but still went on to achieve her GCSEs and A-levels in Business, Art and Textiles.

However, Lucy’s problems were not over and at 19 she began to suffer seizures through epilepsy, brought on by the scarring to her brain Despite this, she studied at Leeds College of Art before joining Westminster University to gain a degree in Fashion Marketing and Promotion.

After a spell back at home in Whixley while her epilepsy was investigated and treatment began, she returned to London to take up a sales post. Then the pandemic hit, and she was furloughed. She used her skills in upcycling old garments into new looks, and her business, the Vintage Studio, was born.
Working at home initially, she built up a social media following, including a number of influencers, and now has an Instagram following of more than 13,000 and some high-profile customers, including singers Mimi Webb and Zara Larsson.
Lucy now has a studio in Fulham and is keen to build her business yet further by employing a small team to offer sustainable small collections, retaining a unique look but enabling more customers to purchase something they may have seen on her sites.
ment in Sport, sponsored by Leeds United Football Club

Hannah Cockroft OBE of Halifax
Hannah added to an already impressive tally of medals in August when she took a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to add to her seven Paralympic golds.
Born in Halifax, she had two cardiac arrests soon after birth which left her with permanent physical damage and, while she can walk a short distance, she needs a wheelchair much of the time.

Her sporting life began at school where she first competed in swimming, seated discus and wheelchair basketball. Her first success came with a silver medal in the seated discus at the UK School Games which led to an invitation to a British Paralympic Association talent day at Loughborough University in 2007 when she was given her first opportunity to try an elite racing wheelchair.

She was invited to join the Great Britain Paralympic Team in 2009 to represent the country in the T34 wheelchair race category, making her team debut at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, taking gold in both the 100 and 200 metres.

By the time she reached the London 2012 Games, records were tumbling and she became the first British Paralympian to win a gold on the track since 2003, taking the 100m in a record time and the following it up with another record and another gold in the 200m.

She followed this with three golds in Rio and two more in Tokyo before winning her first Commonwealth Gold this summer. She currently holds the world records for the 100, 200, 400 and 1500 metres.
In addition to her sporting success, she has been awarded the OBE and is a Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire.
Achievement in Education, sponsored by Harrogate Town
Benji Chandra of Leeds
Benji grew up in Kenya before moving to Birmingham. His father died when he was just ten and after their bereavement, his mother had severe mental health difficulties and was no longer able to support her children, leaving Benji taking responsibility to keep the family together.
Despite this rocky start, he went on to achieve eight A stars in his GCSEs, before moving to Hull to study for his A-levels where he achieved grades in the top one per cent in the UK. He went on to study Optometry at Aston University, gaining a first-class degree.
During his pre-registration year, when he also completed his Masters, he moved back to Yorkshire. Not only has he worked in a variety of different settings within Optometry, including high street, locum, university, domiciliary and hospitals, including in York and Bradford, he has also found the time for helping others, including a charity which works with young people in Leeds to provide opportunities, a pioneering group to achieve racial equality in churches and the Refugee Council and he now works a four-day week so that he can volunteer for Vision Care for Homeless People on the other.
Unsung Hero, sponsored by Jamboree Entertainment
Lucie Maguire of Kirkby Malzeard
Lucie Maguire was 19-year-old apprentice working with babies at a nursery in Ripley near Harrogate in 2021 but driving home from work with her mum, Sue, their car began to fill with smoke. Lucy got out to try and help her mum but was hit by a passing tractor, receiving catastrophic injuries.
She lost her right leg at the hip, broke her back and suffered internal injuries and has spent months in hospital, undergoing numerous operations, and is awaiting more.
The nerve damage she suffered in the accident meant that doctors were not sure if she would ever even be able to sit up. But she has worked hard to regain movement and is now able to use a power wheelchair for short periods and has learned to stand again with a frame.
Her recovery received a setback when she suffered a serious infection in her leg while undergoing rehab, meaning her next operation had to be delayed, but she is still making plans for the future and has just moved into her own home to live as independently as she can.
She is determined both to find a way to work with young people in the future and to share her experiences, including her time in various hospitals in ITU and major trauma wards, to help other people deal with their own life-changing circumstances.
Special Award, sponsored by GMI Property
Chris Blundell of Thirsk
The Special Award is made to friends and supporters of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards who have gone the extra mile to help raise funds to support young people in the region.
Awards Chairman Peter McCormick said: “Chris has been a long term supporter of the Foundation, regularly hosting events such as our annual launch party and donating prizes where appropriate. He is also the organiser of the Yorkshire Charity Clay Days, from which the Foundation has benefited twice to the sum of tens of thousands of pounds. “We are delighted to recognise Chris’s contribution with this Award.”
For more information please contact Peter McCormick at McCormicks Solicitors on 01423 530560 or Sara Lamper at Sara Lamper PR on 07759 795990 or at sara@saralamper.co.uk.
For more information on McCormicks Solicitors, please visit www.mccormicks-solicitors.com.
For more information on the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards and Foundation, please visit www.yorkshireyoungachievers.co.uk