Rachael Minnis receives her Young Citizen of the Year Award

A 14-year-old girl who had her hair shaved off, among other fund-raising efforts, for a local cancer hospice has been named the High Sheriff of Lancashire’s Young Citizen of the Year 2013. BAE Systems were once again title sponsor for this year’s awards.

Rachael Minnis, a pupil at Bispham High School, made the decision to raise money for the Trinity Hospice after losing two people close to her family to cancer who both received palliative care there.

Supported by her parents, a close group of friends and staff at the school, Rachael then spent months planning, preparing and fundraising; She went into classes and assemblies to talk to students about her plans, sold homemade cakes in school, held a non-uniform day at school, persuaded a dozen friends to give up their weekend to join her bag-packing at Sainsbury’s and walked up and down Blackpool Promenade with charity buckets, with all the proceeds going to Trinity Hospice.

Runners-up were 10-year-old Brooke Simpson from Colne and 15-year-old Savannah Jackson from Fleetwood.

The winner and runners-up were selected by the High Sheriff and a panel of judges from LANPAC, Lancashire Constabulary, BAE Systems, the Police Crime Commissioner and former High Sheriff Rodney Swarbrick, who initiated the award.

As the winner, Rachael received £250, a specially commissioned trophy and a certificate from Lancashire’s High Sheriff and Chief Constable. She was also awarded £250 for her chosen charity, which was Trinity Hospice. As runners-up, both Brooke and Savannah receive £100 and a certificate.

High Sheriff Ann Dean said: “Young people can sometimes get a bad press because, often, the majority are let down by the actions of a few. I am delighted to be able to reverse that trend by celebrating and promoting the achievements of young people instead, as the Young Citizen Awards is a fantastic way to highlight the valuable contribution that young people make to the communities in which they live.”

Ian Wood, Samlesbury Site Director at Samlesbury, added: “We are proud to be associated with this scheme. It is refreshing to come across an award that recognises and celebrates young people’s achievements, and acknowledges the contribution they make to the communities where they live or work. ‘Making a difference in the community’ is an easy thing to say, but it takes drive, determination and dedication to actually make it happen, and these are attributes that all of the finalists have displayed.”