A record 700 teenagers put forward for youth honours

Banbury Cake: The Oxford Youth Awards panel, from left, Pansy Poolman, 15, Becca Cross, 17, Kirsty Rix, 16, Rachel Munday, 17, Courtney Hughes, 16, and Andrew Baker, 25 The Oxford Youth Awards panel, from left, Pansy Poolman, 15, Becca Cross, 17, Kirsty Rix, 16, Rachel Munday, 17, Courtney Hughes, 16, and Andrew Baker, 25

A RECORD 700 young people have been nominated for this year’s Oxfordshire Youth Awards.

More than 200 nominations have been received by organisers Oxfordshire Youth for people and teams since nominations opened in November.

On Monday it announced the shortlist for the Monday March 17 event will be chosen from a record 700 people aged 13 to 19.

When the awards began in 2008 some 58 were nominated and this figure rose to 278 last year.

This year’s ceremony has been moved from Oxford’s Town Hall to the larger New Theatre.

Oxfordshire Youth chief executive Paul Lawrence said: “It is just incredible.

“We were hoping for 450 young people but have now received nominations for 700.

“It is going to give us an interesting problem on the night.

“It is fantastic that the people of Oxfordshire are keen to recognise the achievements of young people.

“The evening will be a tremendous occasion and in addition to the awards, we shall be showcasing the best of Oxfordshire youth talent.”

This will include 11 performances from singers, dancers and even circus performers.

He added: “The event promises to be very special for all involved.”

Previous winners of the Youth Awards met at Bury Knowle Coach House in Headington on Monday to decide this year’s results.

Categories are for Arts Superstar, Sports Achievement, Community Champion, Pride of Oxfordshire, Inspirational Entrepreneur, Young Einstein of the Year and Youth Project of the Year.

Didcot Girls’ School pupil Courtney Hughes, 16, who won the Volunteer Award last year helped to draw up the shortlist.

Her volunteering efforts included collecting 650 presents for East Oxford hospice Helen and Douglas House and homes for the elderly.

She said: “I was proud of winning the award and hopefully inspiring other teenagers to do something for the community. This is a charity project I will do every year and hopefully branch out to other counties to encourage other teens to get involved.”

Last year’s awards were presented by author Philip Pullman and former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes.

The presenters of this year’s awards have yet to be announced. They will be held from 7pm to 9pm on Monday March 17.

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