'Please continue to lead the way'
Olly Martins, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, wrote this letter of congratulations to the finalists:
"May I offer my congratulations and my admiration to this year’s winners of the Bedfordshire Young People of the Year Awards. I am delighted that you are being recognised by this excellent scheme for what you do and who you are.
The efforts you have put into our communities have proved that many young people care for those in need of help, want to play their part in achieving
Runner-up Alex Wells – £50 for Leighton Buzzard Mencap
A teenager helped his school raise thousands for charities and organized his own volunteering in a care home for the elderly.
Alex Wells was nominated by Cedars Upper School in Linslade. Alex’s contribution towards the school’s Help Week led to it being a great success and cash being raised for worthy causes, including Oxfam and homeless charities.
"The Help Week is an incentive week for charity. The pupils run stalls, such as ‘guess the number of sweets in a
Runner-up Shuaib Ali – £50 for Unleash Potential charity
A Luton student volunteered to help others at home and abroad, despite having a debilitating illness.
Eighteen-year-old Shuaib Ali has helped students at Luton Sixth Form College and assisted with a scheme to send books to the African country of Malawi.
Shuaib suffers from prune belly syndrome, a rare genetic defect and a disorder of the urinary system. He has limited kidney function, and has spent a lot of his life in and out of Great Ormond Street Hospital. He has had a kidney
Runners-up Barnfield Sixth-Formers – £50 for Onset Trust
A group of teenage Luton girls followed an ambulance to Africa and then gave up their holiday money to save the life of a sick child.
The Barnfield Federation of schools was approached by Onset Trust, a Christian charity based in Dunstable. The charity asked the schools to raise the money to send an ambulance to a particularly deprived area of Uganda with severe poverty.
Lauren Cole, Angelika Gasiorkiewicz and Rebecca Piggot from Barnfield West Academy, and Amy Howe, Jade Colbert
Runner-up Katie Faulkner – £50 for Christian youth club
An 18-year-old young person with anorexia is now helping other pupils at school and people in the wider community.
Katie Faulkner was nominated by Samuel Whitbread Academy.
Katie is a committed member of the Student Voice team at the Shefford school. They put their views forward on how to improve standards of teaching and learning. They also have opinions on behaviour and the environment in which they study.
Katie has designed small-scale research projects to investigate
Runner-up Robert Briggs – £50 for Luton youth club for autistic children
A teenager with health problems that led to him being referred to a special education centre has turned his life around and started his own small business.
Seventeen-year-old Robert Briggs is also helping other young people with issues similar to himself.
Robert was nominated by the On Track Education Centre at Silsoe. On Track is a not-for-profit organisation that provides alternative secondary education.
Robert was referred to On Track five years ago
Runners-up young leaders at Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre – £50 for Keech Hospice
A group of teenagers teach younger children to perform on the stage and have helped raise thousands of pounds for good causes.
Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre involves over 150 youngsters, aged four to 19. They put on acclaimed performances.
For YOPEY, the not-for-profit community group nominated eight young people for training the others.
The young leaders devote much of their weekends to helping the smaller children create
Runner-up Charlie Clark – £50 for Bedford Handball Club
A formerly disruptive teenager has completely turned his life around after discovering a particular sport and now passes on his skills to others.
When he was younger Charlie Clark was failing at school and a constant worry for his parents. Now the 17-year-old has captained the England under-18s handball team and spends hours each week training and mentoring other young players.
Charlie was nominated by St Thomas More School because of the way he has turned his life around.
Runner-up Suzi Martin – £50 for Ampthill Explorer Scouts
Scouting enthusiast and community volunteer Suzi Martin is always prepared to help out.
Her dedication to helping others led to her to carrying the Olympic torch as part of the relay across the country, but she missed seeing the Games because she was in Africa volunteering!
Eighteen-year-old Suzi was nominated by her former middle school where her interest in helping others started with the school's charity afternoons.
"Suzi is a selfless, dedicated young