TWO Great Yarmouth teenagers were among talented, courageous and inspiring young people from Norfolk and Suffolk honoured for their achievements.

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The 2012 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the Mercury’s sister paper the EDP, saw some amazing individuals and groups presented with special awards.

TV presenter Barney Harwood hosted the ceremony at Open in Norwich, and said he was proud to share the stage with the “truly inspirational” winners and finalists.

Each category winner received £1,000. Among them were Keata Wilby, 16, from Yarmouth, and Melissa Starkings, 15, from Fleggburgh.

Keata was presented with the charity award for helping to set up and fundraise for the Leah Wilby Foundation in memory of her sister, who died aged 15 after a seven-year battle with cancer.

Keata has been involved in lots of different fundraising events, including making jewellery, taking part in cake bakes and singing for sponsorship.

All have helped the foundation buy a caravan at Haven Seashore for children with cancer and their families to enjoy much needed short breaks or weeks away.

Keata designed the appeal logo, helps look after the caravan and also decorated the bedrooms. Her winnings will all be ploughed back into the Leah Wilby Foundation which hopes to open a second caravan.

Melissa was given the Young Farmer award for her commitment to the wool industry and inspiring the next generation.

Melissa has her own flock of Teeswater Longwool sheep and is a junior ambassador for the Worstead Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, attending open studios to help encourage more young people to take up the hobby.

Teeswaters are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s list of endangered sheep and Melissa is dedicated to helping increase the numbers of this vulnerable breed. She is also passionate about producing handcrafted items from her own flock and she hand clips, washes, spins and dyes her own fleeces ready to make garments.

Shortlisted in the community support section was The Children’s Coach a Gorleston-based group with young volunteer student coaches who help children in local schools with self-esteem, confidence and leadership.




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