Inspiring teenager uses her bravery award to help other young people

Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2013 bravery winner Eleanor Randall. Eleanor is pictured at the dairy farm at Easton College. Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2013 bravery winner Eleanor Randall. Eleanor is pictured at the dairy farm at Easton College.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
6:05 PM

An inspiring teenager given a bravery award for the courageous way she coped with having a rare muscle disease has used her prize to help seriously ill or disabled young people have once in a lifetime experiences.

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How to enter

The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, are now in their sixth year.

As well as the bravery award, there are also sport, community, food and farming, arts, charity and education categories, and each award has a £1,000 prize. They are all open to 11 to 18-year-olds living in Norfolk and Suffolk, both groups and individuals, and young people can either enter themselves or be nominated by somebody else.

There is also a Hero Award which gives young people the opportunity to recognise an adult who in their eyes is a real young people’s champion.

The prize for this award is a special trophy.

The 2014 awards winners will be revealed in a ceremony on October 28 at Open, in Norwich, and the event will feature entertainment by young performers from youth arts centre The Garage.

The closing date for BMYA entries is Friday, August 22 at 5pm. For more information visit www.bmyouthawards.com, call 01603 706566 or follow @bmyouthawards on Twitter.

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Randall, from Great Yarmouth, was given the 2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards for bravery, and judges hope her story will inspire people to nominate more young people for the 2014 award.

In 2008 Eleanor was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, a condition that affected every muscle in her body.

She faced an uncertain future but her courage and sense of humour won through, and even when the disease was at its worst she still managed to go to school almost every day.

It is now more than a year since Eleanor was able to stop having treatment for the condition, and she is now looking ahead to the future and hoping to pursue a career working with animals.

She said she had been “overwhelmed” to win the bravery award and that she was delighted to donate her £1,000 prize to children’s charity Dreamflight which had helped her by giving her a dream holiday and much needed break.

“I gave all of the money to Dreamflight. They helped me - we went to America for 10 days and I swam with dolphins - so I feel happy to help them help other children,” said Eleanor, who also raised more than £800 by running 5km in 2013 for the charity.

Now Eleanor is studying animal management at Easton College. She has done a work placement at Africa Alive as well as volunteer work at FAITH Animal Rescue in Hickling and Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue in Hemsby.

“I have always loved animals and I would like to do a job where I can help them,” she said.

The 2014 Bernard Matthews Youth Award for bravery will be given to an individual or small group who has shown 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.

For more details on how to enter visit www.bmyouthawards.com

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