Inspiring young people receive Shrievalty Awards from High Sheriff (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Inspiring young people receive awards from Durham's High Sheriff
Buy this photo » High Sherrif Harry Vane with the Shrievalty Award recipients at Durham Castle.
COURAGEOUS, selfless and community-spirited actions of young people have been recognised in an annual awards ceremony.
The outgoing High Sheriff of County Durham, the Honorary Harry Vane, presented accolades to 27 deserving award-winners at a ceremony at Durham Castle in one of the last events in his year in the historic post.
Among those stepping up to receive Shrievalty Awards in the castle’s Great Hall were individuals and several groups, many who have overcome adversity to improve their lives and those of others in the communities in which they live.
They included 16-year-old Charnie Lamport, her brother Joshua and cousin Callum, both aged 12, who came forward as witnesses to report the alleged anti-social behaviour of youths on their housing estate in Sacriston, between Chester-le-Street and Durham.
Bryan Russell, executive manager of Durham Agency Against Crime, which runs the award scheme, told guests at the ceremony that the officers who nominated them said police inquiries into the incidents, on the lead up to Guy Fawkes Night, in November, had been hampered by a lack of witnesses until the trio agreed to give statements.
It led to a number of arrests with several of the alleged perpetrators going through the courts, while problems of anti-social disorder on the estate have since virtually diminished.
Mr Russell said: “The officers involved are convinced that without their statements the matters would not have been satisfactorily resolved and the issues on the estate would have remained problematic.”
Another group nomination was for Darlington’s ‘Signing Stars’, a sign language choir set up at Humersknott Academy.
They have become proficient in choreographed signing and singing, performing for pensioners’ tea parties for Christmas and raising money for children’s treatment charities at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Three of the Signing Stars, Hope Harvey, Jodie Fyfe and Elaine White, were presented with the awards by the High Sheriff.
Teesdale sporting “all-rounder”, 17-year-old Lauren Read, who has dedicated more than 700-hours of her own time to inspire and support other young sports people in Barnard Castle and Bishop Auckland was another deserving recipient.
The High Sheriff said it was inspiring to hear these and the stories of the other 21 nominees.
He added: “It’s the highlight of the Shrieval year and provides an opportunity to thank and reward these young people for their contributions to the community.”
Among the guest at the ceremony was the new Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, four former High Sheriffs, two current and two former Chief Constables, plus three serving Mayors and their consorts.