Queen honours Tony Gearing founder of the Cambridgeshire Yopey awards for young people with an MBE

Tony Gearing founder of the Yopey awards has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours 201

Tony Gearing founder of the Yopey awards has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours 2017. - Credit: Archant

Tony Gearing, the founder of Cambridgeshire Young People of the Year, has been made an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The citation reads ‘For services to Young People in the UK’.

Tony’s aim is to change the unfair negative image of young people into a positive one and to set up the very best young people as role models for others to copy.

Tony held his first Young People of the Year awards in Cambridgeshire in 2006. Over the following years he expanded the campaign to a dozen English counties, London and the whole of Scotland. More than 6,000 young people have entered over 60 YOPEY competitions and more than £130,000 has been given to young people to invest in their good causes, paid for by commercial sponsors and public bodies.

The movement became known as ‘YOPEY’ – pronounced yop-ee – and its awards as ‘Yopeys’ – Oscars for young people who give to others.

Tom Green, who has attended and judged several Cambridgeshire YOPEYs as a deputy lieutenant of the county, said: “I am delighted that Tony Gearing has been honoured for his remarkable vision, determination and leadership with YOPEY – a great achievement and richly deserved acknowledgment.”

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Tony is currently running the 11th YOPEY in Cambridgeshire. You can nominate young people who are ‘positive role models and give to others’ at yopey.org. The competition closes on July 31.

“I haven’t achieved this alone,” said Tony. “This MBE is for all the young people who have taken part in YOPEYs, whether or not they went on to be shortlisted for one of our lavish awards ceremonies. They are all winners!

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“It is also for all the friends I roped in to help – especially members of Round Table with whom I started YOPEY – and for my wife Jo who keeps my nose to the grindstone and gives me some of my best ideas.”

Tony is now concentrating on bringing young people together with the oldest generation in the country. He has developed ‘YOPEY Befriender’, where young people are recruited from schools to volunteer to visit lonely elderly people in care homes, many of them with dementia.

He is currently running 10 YOPEY Befriender schemes in England.

For information visit: yopey.org

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