Teenage Gems are all shining examples
SIX teenagers have been rewarded for their contribution to society as part of a special awards ceremony in Bilborough.
The first Bilborough Gems Awards were presented to youngsters aged 19 and below on Thursday at Nottingham University Samworth Academy, in Bramhall Road.
Organised by Bilborough Youth Network, which brings together schools, agencies, churches, clubs and groups, the awards attracted 44 nominations.
Six of the recipients were presented with an Outstanding Contribution Award by Nigel Adams, director of charity Hope Nottingham in a ceremony attended by more than 200 people.
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Shane Brindley, 15, of Bilborough, a pupil at the academy, was one of the six winners.
He was honoured for his help in raising more than £5,000 since last December for nearby Glenbrook Primary and Nursery School, in Wigwam Road, to enable pupils to go on a variety of trips.
"I've helped to put on six car boot sales as well as organise and clear up fairs and I've loved every bit of it," he said.
"My highlights have been the car boot sales. You have to get up at 4am to set everything up but I've been doing them for 12 years with my grandad Eric Harper, who recently died.
"When they called out my name on Thursday night, I was absolutely flabbergasted. I really didn't expect it."
Thanks to the fundraising, pupils at the school, which Shane previously attended, have been able to go on trips to York, White Post Farm and Newark.
Another Outstanding Contribution Award winner was Saffron Moran, 13, of Broxtowe Estate.
She was honoured for her work to encourage fellow pupils to take up sign language and her involvement in a range of charity fundraising events.
Saffron said: "I was really shocked to be given this award. I was the second-to-last to be called to the front, so I didn't think it would happen, but I am really pleased."
Saffron picked up sign language within a year because she wanted to be able to speak to her deaf friend Marwa Emhamad, 12, of Forest Fields.
She has learnt the skill through free classes offered at the school.
"I think I got about half a dozen pupils to take up sign language at our school and, having received the award, I want to encourage even more.
"I also really like doing charity events and helped to put on three charity bake sales, raising more than £50."
A joint award was given to Jessica Lees Cantrell, 16, of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, and Carly Martin, 15, of Bilborough.
The pair have campaigned to support the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up to fight prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative sub-cultures following Miss Lancaster's death in 2007.
Miss Lancaster and boyfriend Robert Maltby were killed in Lancashire in an attack, which police said may have been provoked by the couple wearing gothic fashion and being members of the "goth" sub-culture.
Jessica and Carly, both members of the same sub-culture, said they had been bullied because they looked different and now wanted to raise as much money as possible for the foundation.
They have held three assemblies this year to raise awareness of the campaign and Carly has written a song, which is due to be released on iTunes by the beginning of next year.
The project is being funded by the school. The song Can't You See conveys the message that everybody should be treated the same regardless of their appearance.
"We used to be bullied," Carly said. "So this is really close to our hearts."
Jessica said: "We've been contacted by a girl in year eight who was being bullied. We advised her to speak to teachers and have a word with the people bullying her and the issue was resolved.
"It's great to be able to make a difference."
An Outstanding Contribution Award also went to Mandla Ndolvu, 16, , who attends the Birchover youth group, based in Bilborough, for acting as a role model for other young people within the club by respecting the rules and encouraging others to do the same.
Former Samworth Academy pupil Danny Walker, 12, whose passion for gardening led to him and other pupils growing their own vegetables, also received the accolade.
Danny, who now lives outside Notts , also claimed the title of Environment Champion at the Nottingham Post Student Awards last month.
The Gem awards cost around £450, paid for from the city council budgets for Bilborough councillors Derek Cresswell, Marcia Watson and Malcolm Wood.