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.
Jake Mendelsohn, aged 15, from Newton Aycliffe in County Durham 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.
Inspired to take action following a friend’s serious illness, Jake Mendelsohn plunged into the chilly waters of Lake Windermere to do a one-mile charity swim – raising £500 in sponsorship for his brave effort during the Great North Swim.
Jake is a water polo player who had never swum in open water before but he resolved to take up the challenge when a family friend was diagnosed with a brain tumour, aged just 23, and who sadly died last year.
The money Jake raised will go to the Brain Tumour Research Campaign.
A family friend nominated him for the award for his efforts for charity. The youngster, who attends the Woodham Academy in Newton Aycliffe, is continuing a family tradition, as his grandad, Peter Beaty, now aged 85, received an MBE eight years ago for services to charity.
A word from Jake's mum
Jake’s mum Allison said: 'He had never done any open water swimming so it was a bit of a challenge but on the day, he was just amazing.
'He was on his own, just 13 years old and went into the water and I didn’t see him again until he got out on the other side. For a 13-year-old that was just amazing and I’m extremely proud of him.'
A word from Specsavers
Tim Mitchison, store director of Specsavers Newton Aycliffe, added: ‘As a partner of the BCyA, it is always inspiring to hear about the selfless acts performed by youngsters in our local community and in the UK.
'We want to support the awareness of these acheivements and to keep inspiring other young people to make a similar positive impact on society.'