PRIME minister Theresa May has branded a Hambledon teenager ‘an inspiration’ following 10 years of charity work.
Jessica Ridge, 18, set up her charity A Touch of Magic 10 years ago and has now been awarded the Points of Light award which recognises outstanding volunteers.
After being inspired to change people’s lives, Jessica set up the charity which raises funds for other causes each year, and has so far raised more than £95,000.
Jessica said: ‘There are so many people in this country who deserve this award but to think that I am one of them, it is a true honour. A Touch of Magic will always be a part of me, wherever life takes me.
‘I don’t do my charity work for reward, but to have recognition for my efforts is a wonderful feeling and encourages me even more to help anyone who needs it, no matter who they are. And for that, I cannot thank you enough.’
In 2018, A Touch of Magic supported Downing Street’s partner charity, Honeypot, raising nearly £15,000 to provide breaks for young carers.
Jessica was presented with her award by Mims Davies, minister for sport and civil society, at Westminster on Thursday.
In a letter to Jessica, prime minister Theresa May said: ‘Your fundraising over the last ten years has enabled organisations like The Honeypot Children’s Charity to help hundreds of people across the UK.
‘As you celebrate the tenth anniversary of A Touch of Magic, I wish you every success for reaching your £100,000 fundraising target and for your continued work. You are an inspiration - well done!’
Jessica hopes to reach the target of £100,000 by the end of this year. Her award coincides with the charity’s tenth anniversary which they celebrate this month.
Mims Davies MP said: ‘At just 18 years old, Jessica has done more to help people than most do in a lifetime. She is an inspiration, raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity and changing the lives of those most in need. Jessica truly deserves this award and I have no doubt she will continue her success in the future.’