GALLERY: Fenland rewards its inspirational young stars at thrilling Kids Are Alright final
SCHOOLBOY car designers were crowned as the winners of the Kids Are Alright Challenge last night after a stunning final saw youngsters from across Fenland hailed as an inspiration.
Neale-Wade Community College’s F1 in Schools team - who made it through to the national finals of the prestigious competition - picked up the overall prize after receiving almost a quarter of the public vote. Whittlesey volunteer Sophie Young was named as runner-up.
Team Revolution, made up of Year 7 students Joshua Ingram, Ioan Foreman, Stephen Cobb, Jordan Saward, Morgan Chappell and David Ablett, dominated their regional championships by designing, promoting, testing and racing their rapid gas-powered balsa wood car.
Delighted teacher Debbie Winn, who led the youngsters’ glorious campaign, said: “We will have this award right in the middle of our trophy cabinet. It was so unexpected but the team worked incredibly hard.
“The boys have been really passionate about this and showed they are a fantastic team. I’m so proud of them. They are perfect examples for the school. They are already looking forward to next year’s racing competition.”
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Team manager Morgan Chappell, 12, said: “It was nice to get that because we really didn’t expect it. We were just proud to get this far.”
The captivating final, held at the Boathouse in Wisbech, celebrated the work of 18 selfless nominees from this year’s contest.
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Names of the nominees were emblazoned across the venue thanks to the stickers and signs of Bluechip Brand Solutions Ltd and Wisbech Sea Cadets lined the entrance for a guard of honour as guests arrived.
All of the youngsters were handed certificates while five monthly winners - Ollie Hutton, Megan Fidler, Katie Stone, Gareth Usher and Elli Hayward-Love - were presented with newly-designed Kids Are Alright hoodies by Councillor Steve Garratt, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for young people.
Chief Inspector Darren Alderson, from Cambridgeshire police, opened the exciting evening by praising the inspirational young role models of Fenland.
He said: “As a police officer, all too often I hear stories and reports of young people causing problems, riotous hoodies and feral teenagers.
“What people sometimes forget is that young people are a vital part of our society and we need to work together. You may find this hard to believe but I too was once a teenager.
“You can make a difference and kids do make a difference if we support them. The Kids Are Alright is an incredible scheme - it allows kids to express themselves and shows just what they can bring to communities.
“I certainly haven’t just turned up tonight for a free dinner, I turned up because this matters. Tonight is not just about the winner, because everybody here is a winner - everything that you’ve done in your communities has made you so.”
Teenage comperes Siana Rawlings and Sollie Davies, from the Fenland Youth District Council, praised all the young volunteers, fundraisers and sporting stars for helping to prove once and for all that the “kids are alright”.
Cambridge-based breakdance crew Dance Offensive sealed a memorable evening with another breathless performance in front of a dazzled audience.
The stereotype-busting Kids Are Alright campaign, run by the Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard in conjunction with the Cambridgeshire Criminal Justice Board, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Fenland District Council, Fenland Youth District Council, Connexions, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cambridgeshire County Council, has now spread across the country.
John Elworthy, Editor of the Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard, praised the example set by Fenland’s young stars. He said their determined attitude was especially refreshing in “a world of broken promises by their adult counterparts”.
Mr Elworthy said: “I’m certainly proud of what has been achieved over the last six months, and indeed the last two years. To all the parents and grandparents here tonight; I think you should be very proud.”