The News Youth Awards: Nominate a star

DESERVING Last year's winners
DESERVING Last year's winners

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They are the future.

And sometimes children deserve a pat on the back for doing something wonderful.

This is recognising all the good work they do or having a bit of a rough life. This is something they can work towards and it gives them a little bit of a push.

The News’ Youth Awards are back for the second year to celebrate the inspiring, heroic and courageous things our youngsters do.

Whether it’s raising money for charity, excelling at school, helping a friend, or living life in the face of adversity, we want our community to come together to recognise the triumphs of our young people.

All you have to do is nominate someone who you think deserves to get recognised and pick one or more of the 13 categories that best suit their achievement.

And we would like to hear the stories behind the nominations.

The awards are for anyone aged 17 or under.

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Please call Rosie Morgan on (023) 9262 2202 to request a nomination form. You can also email youthawards@thenews.co.uk and request a nomination form​ or go to jpsouthevents.co.uk and download a form.​ The deadline for nominations is ​Friday, April 24, 2015. Happy nominating!

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Heidi Johnson, a mum-of-four, has fond memories of last year when her daughter Skye Johnson won the Learner of The Year trophy.

Skye, now nine years old, is a pupil at Hart Plain Junior School and every day goes the extra mile to make sure her schoolwork is glowing.

Heidi, 37, of Blackbird Close, Wecock, was beaming with pride as Skye collected her trophy at the fun awards ceremony at the Kings Theatre in Southsea last July.

‘The awards inspired lots of people,’ she said.

‘It’s brilliant.

‘There’s nothing out there like this that recognises what kids do.

‘Skye is a hard worker and she has always got awards at school, but this was that extra bit where she was appreciated for everything she did.

‘Even if they don’t win, it recognises what they do.’

She added: ‘Motivation, inspiration – it’s what they need.

‘As an ex-teacher myself, I know children need motivation.

‘They need a tap on the back, even for the little things.

‘Something big like this when it’s in the newspaper, they love it!’

Heidi said the ‘whole experience’ of picking up an award at the theatre was a day to remember.

She said: ‘Skye was seeing all the people she saw in the newspaper every week.

‘She loved the excitement of it.’

Young Sam Merrick was so excited about winning his trophies last year that he took them to bed with him.

The trophies, for Inspiration of the Year and Overall Star, now hold pride of place on his family’s fireplace in Bere Road, Denmead.

Sam impressed judges with his determination as he battles a range of health problems after being born prematurely.

Sam, now six years old, is the inspiration behind Sam’s Haven, a charity set up by his relatives to provide short breaks for families of sick children.

Last year, £33,000 was raised from a range of fundraisers, including an abseil down the Spinnaker Tower and a 24-hour tennisathon at Southsea Tennis Club.

It meant 17 families were able to have a much-needed rest from hospital visits and stayed in a caravan in Church Farm, Pagham, near Bognor.

Sam’s mum Louise Merrick, 34, said winning the awards gave her son a confidence boost that has lasted with him to this day.

‘He was over the moon,’ she said. ‘It was a huge boost for him. We had to prise the trophies away from him!

‘We have been allowed to have the trophies now and they are on the fireplace so everyone can see them. We won tickets for Paultons Park and he had a great time.’

Louise said it was important that children get a round of applause. Kids sometimes get a bad name,’ she said.

‘This is recognising all the good work they do or having a bit of a rough life.

‘This is something they can work towards and it gives them a little bit of a push.’

Categories

Best Friend of the Year

A young person who has always been there for a friend and stood by them in good times and bad. This is a young person who has gone the extra mile to bring happiness to someone, whatever their age.

Hero of the Year

A young person who has selflessly helped someone. This could be an act of bravery that shows courage well beyond their years. This category includes young people who have shown courage in difficult times.

Star of the Community

A young person/group ​who supports their local community and has gone out of their way to play an active role in the area they live. This could be in their street or neighbourhood, helping out with a community project or volunteering. ​

Star of the Family

A young person who has shown strength and courage in their family. This category includes young people who act as a carer for another family member.

Star of the Environment

A young person/group​ who should be commended for their work in helping the environment. This could be helping to support an environmental project, such as planting trees or community clean-ups, or a young person/group​ who has helped local wildlife or a young person​/group​ who goes the extra mile to help animals.

Fundraiser of the Year

A young person/group​ who has collected tirelessly for a good cause or charity. This category also includes a young person/group​ who has used their own entrepreneurial initiative to start their own business or venture.

Inspiration of the Year

A young person who has inspired another person or group by their own actions or encouragement. This category could also be a young person who has overcome difficulties.

Challenging a Disability

A young person with a physical or learning disability who has achieved success in their life. This could be a young person who has battled with their disability, but not let it hold them back in life.

Learner of the Year

A pupil or student who has excelled at school or college.

Music Star

A young person or group of young people who can sing, play an instrument or write music. This could be a young person or group with a musical talent that should be recognised.

Arts/Media star

A young person who has shown talent in drawing, painting or sculpture. This could also be a young person who is crafty and enjoys making things. This category also includes young people who excel at writing or have a literary gift.

Stage Star

A young person or group of young people who shine on the stage. This category includes any kind of stage performer, whether it be acting, dancing, magic or comedy.