Dozens of inspirational young people from Leeds and across the region were presented with awards in memory of Princess Diana and her passion for social action.
The Diana Awards, at Leeds college of Music, were presented by musician Danny Jones of McFly, Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft MBE and the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.
The awards were set up to recognise young people who have demonstrated the qualities of kindness, compassion and service championed by the late princess. The Diana Awards are supported by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
They are given to young people who have taken part in volunteering, fundraising, caring, campaign in, mentoring and other social action.
Among those honoured yesterday was Leeds City Academy pupil Mohamad Khalil.
He is a Syrian refugee who was forced to flee the war at the age of 10. He has since learnt English from scratch, and nowadays uses his experience to inspire and mobilise his peers as well as helping them to recognise the hardship faced by refugees in war torn countries.
Also receiving a Diana Award was 11-year-old Lechelle Peart, a pupil at Leeds East Academy.
Lechelle was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and has monthly procedures which leave her weak and in pain. Despite this she is dedicated to fundraising for The Family Fund, which supports other disabled people and even volunteers some of her own disability money to the ambulance service.
Kayleigh Sugden, 13, was also a Leeds winner of the Diana Award. She had open heart surgery as a baby, and from the age of six has supported the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Unit at Leeds General Infirmary.
She has raised over £8,000 through fundraising events and her work has funded better facilities, research, training and resources for the organisations that have supported her.
Tessy Ojo, chief executive of the Diana Award, said: “At The Diana Award we understand that valuing young people also means investing in them so we are delighted that these Award recipients will have access to our unique development programme that ensures they continue to be positive trailblazers for their generation.”
Danny Jones added: “I’m really excited to meet such an inspirational group of young people. It’s an amazing way to give recognition to these incredibly special people and to hear their stories. It makes me proud to be northern. They are true heroes.”
The award is art of the INSPIRE series which travels across the UK to meet, celebrate and empower courageous young citizens in Diana, Princess of Wales’ name.
As well as receiving awards, young people will receive specialised training in campaigning and community action to kick start a year long social action initiative, with their peers, to tackle social issues, make a positive change and contribute to a brighter future for themselves and others.