In front of an invited audience of over 100 guests Rotary's Young Achievers of 2014 were revealed at an oscar style ceremony at the Coniston Hotel this weekend. The top accolade – Young Achiever of the Year 2014 – was won by 17 year old, Lauren Stafford, from Silsden.
Lauren, a talented musician, beat off stiff competition from more than 55 other nominees to take the title. She received a trophy and a cheque for £400.
Commenting on her award Lauren said - “I'm delighted and honoured to have won the Young Achiever of the Year Award. I really didn't expect to win.”
“At the moment I'm working on my university application because I'm hoping to study music and I know that this award is going to make such a difference to my chances of getting a place. I'm very grateful that I've had the opportunity to take part in the scheme.”
The judges chose Lauren because she is both an outstanding performer in her own right who is a strong role model and musical inspiration to younger performers, as well as clearly using her talent for the benefit of others.
Lauren helps organise Fresh Aire - a training band for young musicians – as well as playing an active role with the senior band, Hot Aire and the Keighley based Samba Band, Jam on Top. As a sixth former at South Craven School, Lauren is heavily involved in the school music programme, including organising last year's Christmas Show.
Lauren started using her musical talents for the benefit of others when she was still at primary school in Silsden. With her sister she played for patients at Airedale Hospital, for charity concerts with the Cobbydale Singers, and for residents at the Abbeyfield Home.
The competition organised by the Rotary Clubs of Skipton and Skipton Craven attracted more than 55 nominations across 5 categories – Art, Citizen, Music, Sport and Workplace.
The category awards were presented by representatives from the scheme's sponsors – Skipton Building Society, Coniston Hotel, Craven Herald and Pioneer, Wm Morrisons Supermarkets PLC, Skipton Town Council.
In the keynote address, David Cutter, Group Chief Executive, Skipton Building Society highlighted the importance of recognising and nurturing Craven's young talent. He went on to say that the Building Society was delighted to have been actively involved in the awards once again as they brought to light so many inspirational stories about the area's gifted young people.
Cllr John Dawson, Town Mayor of Skipton congratulated everyone who had taken part in the awards saying: “Our community is full of talented, hard-working young people who contribute so much to our life in Skipton and Craven – in all sorts of ways they help to make this area the best place to live in the UK”.
As well as the Young Achiever of the Year 2014 award eight category winners were announced each of whom received a trophy, certificate and a cheque for £100.
For Art the winners are Theo Hartley and Conor Rigby; for Citizen – Anna Milburn; Music – Ross Tennant and Lauren Stafford; Sport – Oliver Younger and Taylor Prell; and Workplace – Daniel Crossland.
Speaking on behalf Rotary, Gordon Jolly, President, Skipton Rotary Club said:
“I'm sure that I speak on behalf of all the Rotarians who have taken part in organising these awards when I say that we could not have done this without the commitment of many outside organisations to the Young Achievers Awards.
We are indebted to our sponsors - Skipton Building Society, Coniston Hotel, Craven Herald and Pioneer, Wm Morrisons Supermarkets PLC, Skipton Town Council – for their support in time, prize sponsorship and encouragement.
And our thanks also go to all those who nominated a young person for an award, to the parents, families, teachers and mentors of those young people who have been nominated, and to the young people themselves for having the confidence to take part in the scheme and for all that they do to make our community a thriving one.”