Twenty four inspirational youngsters from across the UK were delighted to be announced as medallists for this year’s British Citizen Youth Award (BCyA) in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to society, charities and good causes.
Owen Perks from Wolverhampton was one of the children honoured for their incredible efforts at a formal presentation held at the Palace of Westminster.
Now in its second year, the BCyA, in association with Specsavers, seeks to highlight the many acts of bravery, kindness and compassion carried out by young people across the UK.
In 2015, 11-year-old Owen attended a charity event to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, at which several women including his mother, Rachel, had their heads shaved to raise funds.
Owen, who previously always had shoulder length hair, then watched a Youtube video of Stephen Sutton MBE. The video inspired and affected Owen so much, that he decided to shave his hair off to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. This was live-streamed on the internet and Owen raised £560.
With the guidance of his mentor, Jagraj Poselay (BCAc), Owen’s fundraising since then has benefitted multiple local causes. He raised £420 with his cousin Kaiden, doing a sponsored walk so that they could provide the care home where his grandfather had worked with Christmas gifts.
Owen also fundraised for a local 5-year-old boy, Tommy Brown, who lost both his legs as a baby due to meningitis. In a bid to provide him with the option to choose his own prosthetic legs, Owen walked from Walsall to Wolverhampton (approximately 7.1 miles), raising £440. His supporters dressed up, sold cakes, took donations in collection buckets, which contributed to a total of nearly £1,000.
'Caring, compassionate young man'
‘I have known Owen for several years and he is a caring, compassionate young man with a ‘can do’ attitude to making a positive difference to other people’s lives,’ said Jagraj, who nominated Owen for the award.
Owen's mum Rachel said: ‘He has a natural passion for helping others. I’m so proud of his achievements and his attitude to other people – he really cares about making a difference to other people’s lives.’
Hardip Bahia, store director of Specsavers Wolverhampton said: ‘As a partner of the BCyA, it is always uplifting to hear about the amazing and selfless acts performed by youngsters.
‘Owen’s story is truly inspiring. He is clearly dedicated in his mission to ease the lives of others and give his tie and effort to his local community. It’s wonderful to see in someone so young, and I hope he continues his work into the future.