How a Bernard Matthews Youth Award helped Norfolk sprint star Victoria get closer to her dream
11:17 16 July 2012
A future Olympic hopeful from Norfolk has taken a step closer to her dream thanks to a funding boost from last year’s Bernard Matthews Youth Awards.
Sprint cyclist Victoria Williamson scooped the award and a £1,000 prize at November’s ceremony, which has gone towards transport costs for her training trips to the velodrome in Manchester three times a month.
And the 18-year-old from Hevingham has urged other young sports stars from the region to enter the awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, which recognise the impressive achievements of people aged 11 to 18.
There are nine categories up for grabs, with each winner receiving £1,000 and putting themselves in contention for the overall winner of winners award.
Speaking after returning from the European Under-23 Championships, where she won a silver medal in the team sprint event, Miss Williamson described how the award prize had relieved the financial pressure and allowed her to focus on competition.
After collecting her A level results this summer, Miss Williamson will move to Manchester to focus full-time on future with British Cycling, which she hopes will take her to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Olympics in Rio two years later.
She said: “I get a lot of my equipment provided by British Cycling, but transport and petrol costs can be really high, so the money has been so helpful for that.
“Trips up to Manchester cost a lot but now I can fly up I don’t have to rely on being driven.
“It’s massively helped me and it has taken the burden off my parents.”
She has also been able to buy equipment, including a racing helmet with blacked-out visor for competition.
“I didn’t think I was going to win, because I had been shortlisted the year before and there are so many athletes from Norfolk in the Great Britain squad,” she added.
“I was at a training camp when the awards were announced, so I just got a text from my mum that night telling me that I had won!”
She said she would encourage rising sporting stars to enter the award, which recognises not only top-level athletes but those performing impressive feats at a regional level.
She said: “I would definitely encourage others to apply for the awards. Even if you’re not in the Great Britain squad you should definitely still apply.
“You don’t have to be at the elite level to get the award: I know people who are doing amazing things at county level in three sports, which is just as impressive as one sport nationally.”
Food champion (sponsored by the Eastern Daily Press) – this new award recognises outstanding achievement or contribution to the local food community, for example cooking, growing or selling food or promoting a healthy diet. The winner will need to demonstrate particular achievement, effort or creativity.
Young farmer – for outstanding contribution to the local agricultural community. Entrants will need to show how they are involved in farming and the farming community, with particular attention given to agricultural achievement, unique or interesting agricultural projects, or the day-to-day delivery of excellence.
Sporting achiever – for outstanding achievement in sport. The judging will take into account the nature of the achievement, any challenging circumstances and any comparison between their peers’ achievements.
Community support – for an individual or group who has gone out of their way to contribute to their local community through voluntary work. This might include supporting community activity, through youth groups, working on community projects or developing and supporting local community initiatives via volunteering. Entrants need to show the positive difference they have made to their community.
Charity – for the delivery of an outstanding level of charity work in Norfolk and Suffolk. This may be through a single act, ongoing support or a series of activities for a range of different charities. Judges will look for the effort, creativity and application put into the charity work.
Cultural achiever – for outstanding achievement in a cultural field, such as music, art, design, theatre and dance. The overall winner will need to demonstrate the creativity and uniqueness of their achievement.
Bravery – this recognises great strength and courage. This may include either a single act of selfless bravery or personally facing a challenging situation. Judges will look at how entrants have coped with their situation and the impact their bravery has had on their own and other people’s lives.
Environmental – for taking part in or initiating a project that has had a positive environmental impact. Judges are looking for people who have been involved in unique and interesting environmental schemes that have had a significant outcome or who can show a passion and enthusiasm for green issues.
Educational achievement – for outstanding academic success in relation to personal circumstances. This could include school exams, national qualifications or grades achieved for vocational training. Judges will not just look for the highest grades but also want to see examples of what makes entrants’ achievements outstanding in comparison to their peers or personal circumstances.
How to enter
All nine awards are open to both individuals and groups, and people can either enter themselves or nominate others.
Entrants must be aged 11 to 18 and live in Norfolk or Suffolk. Entries should show the entrant’s achievements and why they are exceptional.
If nominating somebody else you must have their permission and, if under 18, the permission of their parent or guardian. You can enter by filling out a form at www.bmyouthawards.com, uploading a video on the youth awards website or downloading a form from the website and sending it to Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, c/o Shorthose Russell Ltd, 12 Meridian Way, Meridian Business Park, Norwich, NR7 0TA.
Video entries must be no bigger than 10MB and no longer than three minutes.
The closing date for entries is July 20, 2012. Shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards evening on Tuesday, October 30.
For more information visit the website www.bmyouthawards.com, follow the awards on Twitter at @BMYouthAwards or telephone 01603 706566.