Stars back young people awards

Philip Pullman, with an Oxford bus bearing his likeness

Former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes

First published in Countywide Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Contact me on 01865 425422

BIG name guest presenters have been announced for an event rewarding the achievements of young people across Oxfordshire.

Chairman of Oxford United Ian Lenegan, author Philip Pullman and Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes will be presenting awards at the Oxfordshire Youth Awards.

The charity Oxfordshire Association for Young People (OAYP) which is organising the event to be held next month hopes it will be the biggest in their history.

Young people aged between 11 and 25 have been nominated for awards in seven categories for the ceremony in the Town Hall on Thursday, February 21.

Mr Pullman, who wrote the His Dark Materials trilogy, said: “The organisers just got in touch and asked me to do it.

“I’m always in favour of supporting young people and it seemed like a good idea. I will certainly be there.”

This year is the first time the awards have been organised by young people themselves.

Ten Wheatley Park School students, aged between 15 and 17, make up the committee organising the event.

They were chosen because they had demonstrated the necessary leadership skills to be able to co-ordinate the awards.

Their work includes organising fundraising, sponsorship, budget management and event planning.

Record nominations have already been received for the awards, with 300 young people to attend, along with an audience of 300 guests. Awards will be presented in the categories arts, bravery, enterprise, literature, sport, volunteer, science, technology and environment.

An eighth award – the Jake Spicer Special Recognition Award will be awarded by the youth committee to one outstanding young person.

It is named after a former pupil of St Gregory the Great School, East Oxford, who passed away in 2009.

He died after a five-and-a-half year battle with a rare form of bone cancer. After he was diagnosed, Jake raised thousands of pounds for charity.

To go with the theme of a celebration of young people, there will also be performances from talented young people in the county.

Hip hop dance group Body Politic and arts collective Bear on a Bicycle are among the performers.

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