Video: Young stars shine at Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards

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The brightest young stars from across the region had a chance to shine at a glittering awards ceremony in Leeds.

An audience of 420 people heard incredible stories of courage, perseverance and strength at the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards at Elland Road on Thursday.

WOUNDED IN COMBAT: Young Personality of the Year Award winner Cpl Andy Reid with wife Claire.

WOUNDED IN COMBAT: Young Personality of the Year Award winner Cpl Andy Reid with wife Claire.

A soldier, an actress and a surgeon all scooped accolades on the night.

The Young Personality of the Year award went to Corporal Andy Reid of the Third Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, who lost both of his legs and his right arm in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2009.

He has since completed a tandem skydive to fundraise for the Soldier’s Charity and danced with his bride at their wedding in September.

He said: “The award really means a lot to me. It has been quite difficult but hopefully when other soldiers go out to Afghanistan they can see that they can carry on their life as they did before.”

Wife Claire said: “He is awesome. He is really strong and can get through anything.”

Jonathan Lancaster of Normanton scooped the Unsung Hero award after overcoming a rare disorder to build a successful career for himself as a fitness instructor and support worker.

Jonathan, now 26, was put up for adoption just 36 hours after being born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which leads to skull and facial deformities and hearing problems.

He is now fundraising to send four-year-old Ellie, who also suffers from Treacher Collins, to Disneyland.

He said: “I’ve met so many amazing people tonight and what I’ve done is nothing compared to them.

“Just to be involved in this is amazing. Ellie’s life has been so negative, I just wanted to put a smile back on her face.”

The Achievement in the Arts award, sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening Post, went to 26-year-old actress Genevieve Barr, who was born profoundly deaf.

Genevieve, of Ripon, bagged the lead role in BBC drama The Silence and has also appeared in Channel 4’s Shameless.

She received a 2:1 degree in English and History and excels at diving, rounders, lacrosse and rugby.

She said: “To be a role model to other disabled people out there is a real honour.

“It’s been harder with my disability because there are certain preconceptions in acting but I’m starting to overcome my disability.”

Paul Napier, editor of the YEP and trustee of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation, presented the award.

He said: “Genevieve is a wonderful winner and her catalogue of achievements at such a young age is just remarkable.”

Ashleigh Rumford, of Harrogate, won the Youngster of the Year award for her bravery in fighting a rare bone tumour which led to the amputation of her right leg.

The 10-year-old said: “Having a prosthetic leg fitted was weird but now I want to wear it all the time so I can do horse riding and swimming.

“My mum and friends have supported me all the way through.”

Mum Michelle Marks said: “She is a superstar and we’ve all been led by her strength.”

Kelvin Fletcher, of Emmerdale, presented the award. He said: “What Ashleigh has been through is exceptional.”

Doctor Aaron Brown, who grew up in Adel, Leeds, won the Achievement in Education Award.

The 26-year-old former Leeds Grammar School pupil battled Cystic Fibrosis and is enrolled in the Royal College of Surgeons and works an orthopaedic surgeon at York District Hospital.

Other winners included Tom Van Zeller, 35, of Harrogate, who won the Achievement in Management and Enterprise award and cricketer Tim Bresnan, 26, of Pontefract, won the Achievement in Sport category.

The awards recognise the achievements of people aged under 35 and the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation, which was established last year, have now raised £900,000.

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