A Harrogate woman was one of seven young people who help to make Yorkshire a better place who were recognised for their talent and determination at the 27th Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards at Leeds United’s Centenary Pavilion.
Lauren Doherty was named Unsung Hero for her work to promote road safety following an accident which left her completely paralysed. Another winner, who grew up in the Harrogate district, was Katie Mountain, who took the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award. Katie runs a hugely successful Community Nursery in Leeds.
Undefeated Leeds boxer Josh Warrington stepped up to take the Personality of the Year title in front of almost 400 guests, while the Youngster of the Year title went to another Leeds lad making his mark in the ring with three gold medals to his name aged just ten, Archie Boyne.
The Awards, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors, mark the achievements of young people in seven categories, from the Arts to Sport, and are organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation which has now raised more than £1.3m to support young people in Yorkshire.
The Chairman of the Awards, Peter McCormick OBE, said: “It was a very special evening where we heard some amazing stories, ranging from Lauren Doherty spreading the road safety message to other young people after she was paralysed in an accident, to Katie Mountain doing some amazing work with children and families in need in Leeds.
“These Awards are also our main fundraiser of the year and none of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors and our guests, many of whom have been with us almost since the beginning, and we marked the commitment of one of these supporters, Simon Nabarro, with our Special Award.”
The full line up of winners was:
Personality of the Year, sponsored by Rudding Park
Josh Warrington of Leeds
Josh has had a remarkable career in professional boxing, with 30 wins out of 30 to date.
His latest came just a month ago when he beat Sofiane Takoucht to retain the IBF Featherweight World Championship, ending the fight in the second round to take the belt for the fourth time.
Many of his professional bouts have taken place in Yorkshire, with his first fight at Elland Road in 2010.
He is well known as a Leeds United fan and a number of former players, including Lucas Radebe, Vinnie Jones and Jermaine Beckford, have appeared on his ring walks.
He took his first English featherweight in 2012, the Commonwealth title the following year and the British and European titles in 2014. 2015 saw him win the WBC International featherweight title.
Elland Road was also the venue for his next big title, when he beat Lee Selby to win his first IBF belt in May 2018. He retained the title in October the same year when he beat Carl Frampton and again in June this year when he took on Kid Galahad.
Youngster of the Year, sponsored by Nabarro McAllister
Archie Boyne, ten, of Leeds
Archie set himself the target of being world champion in Thai boxing by the time he was ten – and achieved it aged nine, winning three gold medals at the World Championships in Italy.
Fighting under the name “Archie The Barbarian Boyne”, the youngster has won a series of titles, including his first, the Five Nations title, aged five.
Archie is keen on all sport but started Thai boxing when he was just four and has thrown himself into achieving his world title goal. Away from the ring, he also takes part in cross-country, athletics and football and will willingly take on any sporting challenge, as well as maintaining good marks in his school work. He is also mentoring younger pupils at school and in Thai boxing.
He is now keen to keep his titles as he moves up the weight classifications.
Achievement in the Arts, sponsored by Barclays
Daisy Watt of Doncaster.
Daisy, aged ten, wanted to raise money for cancer charities after her grandparents were diagnosed with the disease when she was just six. She decided to paint a picture for them and donate it to the Equinox Ball which raises funds for Doncaster-based Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support, which provides transport to medical appointments for cancer patients, and for Cancer Research UK.
Her extraordinary talent meant it was far more than just a pretty picture. The auction of the painting, together with prints of it, raised a massive £25,000, more than a wheel for a Firefly vehicle which was Daisy’s aim.
Since then, Daisy’s work has gone on to raise nearly £50,000 so far. Her paintings of flowers and nature include daffodils, used to represent people who are fighting cancer.
Her designs are being incorporated into a range of jewellery by Orbis Jewellery in Bawtry and a one-off piece will be auctioned at the next Equinox Ball on 16 November. Her first painting has also been used as a thank you card for bequests by Cancer Research UK.
She has exhibited in the Don Valley Festival Art Competition, winning first prize in each of the four annual competitions she has entered.
Achievement in Management and Enterprise, sponsored by The Wetherby Whaler Group
Katie Mountain, of Adel, Leeds
Katie began her career as a primary school teacher but the last two years have seen her become the youngster director of a community nursery in the UK.
She set up and runs the Sunshine Community Nursery in Harehills and, in the first year, she was tasked with attracting 15 children. She actually attracted 58, reaching her three-year business plan goal in the first year.
The nursery caters for children aged from babies to five and, as well as supporting families in the local community, also provides child care for 20 students learning English for speakers of other languages at Leeds City College
She has recruited her own staff from the local community, which has proved valuable in a setting where 15 languages are spoken and where many of the children are refugees and asylum seekers. Among the staff are some who left school with no qualifications and Katie has worked with them through their apprenticeships to gain their Level 3 childcare qualifications.
As well as providing developmental skills and easing the transition to school for the children, the nursery works closely with the families, for example accompanying those with children with special needs on hospital visits to iron out any language difficulties.
Katie has plans to expand the nursery still further in coming months, increasing capacity to 70 places and introducing a sensory area along with more outdoor play.
Achievement in Sport, sponsored by Leeds United Football Club
Courtney Hill of Leeds Rhinos Women
Courtney captained Leeds Rhinos Women in a hugely successful season, culminating in them becoming the Betfred Women’s Super League champions for the first time.
Born in Australia but qualifying for the Award because she lives and works in Yorkshire, Courtney led the team to the domestic double, also taking the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup, in which the scrum half scored the winning try.
Despite her talent on the rugby pitch, her professional sporting life saw her begin as a cricketer in Australia where she was a fast pace bowler. She emigrated to England in 2018 and, despite not having played Rugby League since junior level, set her sights on a new career.
She was an integral member of the Leeds squad that won the 2018 Challenge Cup and the League Leaders Shield in the 2018 Women’s Super League, a season in which she missed just one game, crossed the line for seven tries and registered 65 goals as the team’s first choice kicker.
She was appointed Captain this year and, at the end of the season was named named as the 2019 Telegraph Woman of Steel at the Super League Awards.
Achievement in Education, sponsored by Positive Tax Solutions
Taylor Hogan of Leeds
Taylor experienced a difficult childhood which resulted in her struggling in mainstream education and moving schools eight times.
But a major moment of change came when she was introduced to MAP Charity in Leeds, which works with young people at risk of being excluded, and she found an outlet for her creativeness and talent, becoming engaged in education for the first time in her young life.
Taylor has never looked back since and is now studying Film and Screen Media at University Centre, Leeds College.
She studied a BTEC course in Creative Media and Music at MAP Charity, starting to produce her own short films and then getting into film production work. Her films have helped spread MAP Charity’s message to other young people.
She is now a valued ambassador and frequently visits to inspire more young people in their engagement with education and the arts.
She has also had work commissioned by organisations such as Leeds International Festival, Art Hostel, Music: Leeds and Equaliser.
Taylor sits on the fundraising committee for MAP Charity and speaks at awareness events. In June she was a panel member at the Arts and Health conference organised by the University of Leeds Cultural Institute.
Unsung Hero, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors
Lauren Doherty of Knaresborough
When Lauren was 20 she was involved in a life-changing road accident. Walking home after a night out with friends, she crossed a road without checking for traffic, was hit by a van and is now completely paralysed.
She has had several operations on her pelvis, vertebrae, wrist and aorta and has had skin grafts on her legs, spending 16 months in different hospitals. Lauren was determined she would breathe again without the use of a ventilator – something she achieved after two years of effort. She is now living independently in her own purpose-built bungalow.
Lauren also wanted to spread the road safety message to children of all ages and this has become her focus. In 2016 she visited her first primary school, speaking to a group of ten children, and this led on to other schools and organisations in the area. She has now spoken to more than 3,000 children and young adults across the region.
She is also working with a group of organisations, including the police and fire services, on their Learn and Live Campaign for young drivers and their passengers.
The importance of her work was recognised just two weeks ago when she received a Chief Constable’s Commendation from North Yorkshire Police for her Road Safety work in the Community.
Special Award, sponsored by Walsh Taylor
Simon Nabarro of Leeds
The Special Award is made to friends and supporters of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards who have gone the extra mile to help raise funds to support young people in the region.
Awards Chairman Peter McCormick said: “Simon has proved to be a brilliant ambassador for both the Awards and the Foundation over the last 25 years. He celebrated his 25th anniversary of taking a table at the dinner and marked that achievement by sponsoring the Youngster of the Year award.
“We have been lucky enough to have some fantastic supporters over the years and we are delighted to recognise Simon’s contribution with this Award.”