‘Inspiring’ teenager named Lancashire Young Citizens of the Year

youngcitizen_homepageNatalie Markham from Blackpool, who helped to raise thousands of pounds for charity, has won the High Sheriff’s Young Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements.

The 14-year-old Bispham High School pupil won the award after judges heard how, following a difficult childhood, she had turned her life around and was now role model for other young people. Over the past three years, Natalie has taken part in concerts, cake sales and dance-a-thons, collecting over £7000 for Red Nose Days, Comic Relief and Children in Need.

Natalie lives with her mum and over the last two years, her family has been hit by serious illness – her disabled grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and her grandfather fell and broke his shoulder blade. Whilst they received treatment, Natalie helped tirelessly by cooking meals, cleaning, washing and shopping. Her bright nature cheered them up and helped them on their road to recovery.

Each year she volunteers at summer school which helps new pupils to make friends and settle in to high school more quickly.

PCSO Nicola Leigh, who is based at Bispham High School, Nominated Natalie. She said: “Natalie is a fantastic role model for her peers and the younger children and is rarely seen without a smile on her face. She is a credit to her family and to Bispham High School. While there is the utmost admiration for people who manage to turn disruptive or negative behaviour around, Natalie has always remained positive and she deserves a pat on the back.”

Natalie received a trophy and £250, with £250 going to her chosen charity, while Lauren and Beth received £100 each and Team 53 received £150 with a trophy.

High Sheriff Jeremy Gorick said: “Young people can sometimes get a bad press because, often, the majority are let down by the actions of a few. I am delighted to be able to reverse that trend and celebrate and promote the young people’s achievements. The Young Citizen Awards are a fantastic way to highlight the valuable contribution that young people make to the communities in which they live.”

BAE Systems were once again title sponsor for this year’s Awards, and are proud to be associated with the scheme.

Ian Wood, Samlesbury Site Director at BAE Systems, added: “We are proud to be associated with the scheme, it is refreshing to come across an award that recognises and celebrates young people’s achievements, and acknowledges the contribution they make to the communities where they live or work. Making a difference in the community is an easy thing to say, but it takes drive, determination and dedication to make it happen – and these are attributes that all of the finalists have displayed.”

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