Young volunteers were celebrated at an awards ceremony in Uckfield last night.
Eighteen youngsters stood on stage at the end of the evening to be applauded for their good works.
Among those there to recognise their efforts were the High Sheriff of East Sussex Mrs Violet Hancock, Wealden Council chair Cllr Pam Doodes, Uckfield Mayor Cllr Spike Mayhew, the Rector of Holy Cross Church Fr John Wall, and the patron of Uckfield Volunteer Centre Lembit Opik.
The event was organised by the volunteer centre and staged as an Uckfield Festival event at Uckfield College.
Five awards were presented to young people during the evening and young people provided the entertainment too.
There was dancing from Universal Dance and music from students of the Red Butler Music School.
Youngsters nominated for Environment, Fund-raiser, Commitment, and Caring Awards are named below. There was a final award for Outstanding Achievement.
Environment: Charlotte Marshall, Isabella Varley, Lacey Varley, Katherine Argyrou. The winners were Isabella, nine, and Lacey Varley, ten, who are members of the Brighter Crowborough clean-up group.
Fund-raiser: Holly Peat, Kristy Scholler, Maddie Jones, Sophie Baldwin, Millie Snelgrove, Elyse Snelgrove, and Libby Snelgrove. The winner was Kristy Scholler, 17, who raises funds for children with cancer by selling clothes and baking.
Commitment: Alex Hayes, Amy Kedwards, Archie Wilson, Benj Cheeseman, Callum Daly, Eve Pashley, Felicity Woodiviss-Reid, Kiri Standing, Marie Pont, Rhiannon Hobby. The winner was Callum Daly, 17, who helps with the kit car project that culminates in the Uckfield Grand Prix held every year as part of Uckfield Festival.
Caring: Alex Cheeseman, Fergus Wilson, Jade Snowdon, Lara Wells, Lizzie Wilkinson, Nicola Greenwood, Sacha Thomas and Tess Kedwards. The winner was Tess Kedwards, seven, who had her long hair cut off to have it made into wigs for children with cancer and who is a volunteer with Uckfield Park Run.
Isolation and loneliness
Outstanding Contribution: This was awarded to seven young volunteers involved in the Rotherfield St Martin project which aims to prevent isolation and loneliness among older people. They are: Alex Cheeseman, 21, Archie Wilson, 18, Benj Cheeseman, 18, Fergus Wilson, 22, Lizzie Wilkinson, 12, Maddie Jones, 17, and Sophie Baldwin, 17.
There was also special mention during the evening of Wealden Young Volunteer of the Year 2018, Stephen Evans, a volunteer at Uckfield Volunteer Centre, who offers free one-to-one IT support and training to the public.
Host for the evening was Uckfield town councillor Duncan Bennett who said the awards were to recognise children and young people who made a real difference in their local community. They might have raised money for good causes or have carried out a simple act of kindness.
High Sheriff of East Sussex Mrs Violet Hancock said she was pleased to be at an event which was the culmination of a project by Uckfield Volunteer Centre deigned to inspire the next generation of volunteers.
She said the boundless energy in the room was just what was needed to enliven our communities.
She thanked the young people for the hard work they had put in and their families for supporting them and the organisers and sponsors who made the awards evening possible.
“This is a good example of how rewarding it is to work together rather than trying to go out alone. Communities need to be nurtured and supported.”
She added no-one need feel forgotten or alone in strong and happy neighbourhoods and said the volunteer centre project demonstrated that people of any age could be a volunteer.
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