The inaugural British Citizen Youth Awards – honouring young people who have positively impacted society, communities, charities or other good causes – has taken place at the Palace of Westminster.
Twenty youngsters - from across the country - were honoured, with each having their own unique and inspiring story, including 10-year-old Ashley Palipana from Grays.
The medal presentation ceremony, which is in association with Specsavers, cast a light on some of the nation’s brightest stars of the future.
The awards were presented by Kimberly Wyatt of the Pussycat Dolls, whose band has sold over 55 million records worldwide.
Ashley, a Year 5 pupil at Belmont Castle Academy in Grays, wants to be a neurosurgeon when he grows up and is so passionate about helping people he sells his canvas artwork to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
Ashley’s mum, Donna Jayasinghe is very proud of his achievements: ‘Ashley wants to be like Peter Pan and raise millions of pounds for charity. It’s lovely that he has been recognised for his efforts at the British Citizen Youth Awards – he’s a very deserving winner and a great role model among his peers.’
Ashley is also an active member of the community, taking part in the Scouting endeavours with the Thameside Scouts, attending the Little Thurrock St John’s Ambulance youth programme and taking part in local theatre performances.