Six of Norfolk’s most inspiring young people
PUBLISHED: 12:01 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:33 17 April 2018
From achieving great things with their talents to being dedicated champions of good causes - here we highlight six amazing young people who are truly inspirational.
A true superstar of wheelchair tennis
Sporting superstar Alfie Hewett’s list of achievements is vast.
The 20-year-old from Cantley became the world number one in wheelchair tennis in January, and he is truly inspirational both for his sporting skills and also how he has refused to let health issues prevent him from achieving amazing things. He was born with a heart defect and at the age of six was diagnosed with Perthes disease, but his determination has made sure this has not stopped his great success on the tennis courts.
Among his most recent accolades, Alfie last monthMarch won the first men’s singles Super Series title of his career at the Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge, USA. According to his profile on Tennis Foundation, he has to date won 19 singles titles and 31 doubles titles. He won two paralympic silver medals in Rio in 2016 in the singles and the doubles and, along with his partner Gordon Reid, he was crowned 2017 and 2016 Wimbledon men’s doubles champion and 2017 US Open men’s doubles champion.
Young musician wants to inspire other artists
Eighteen-year-old musician Finn Doherty is helping to inspire fellow young musicians in his role as patron of Norwich arts venue The Garage.
Finn, who credits the venue’s Musicians Development Programme with helping him become the musician he is today, became a patron in January. The singer-songwriter, who lives in Woodton, said the course gave him invaluable experience and had been a huge boost to his confidence, and so now he wanted to give something back.
He said: “I’m very excited to keep working with The Garage. I hope I can spread the word about what The Garage does and inspire other young people to take part in courses there, and also offer help and advice to people already doing courses there.”
Finn, who descibes his music as alternative and influenced by old school hip hop beats and indie rock, said some of his proudest music achievements to date were headlining the Inbetweeners Stage at Latitude and an event with The Garage at the UEA’s LCR. He is currently studying a music production course at Access to Music and working on a new record he hopes to release in the summer.
Brave Brogan wants to encourage others to follow their dreams
Inspirational Norwich schoolgirl Brogan Didwell hopes her story of battling cancer and achieving her modelling dream will inspire more people to believe in themselves and keep fighting.
Ten-year-old Brogan, from Thorpe St Andrew, was was just five when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and she bravely faced three years of gruelling treatment. The St William’s Primary School pupil refused to let her situation stop her smiling, and one of her dreams was to become a model – a wish she achieved when she was crowned Christmas Pre Teen Model of the Year 2017 at a Kerri Parker Academy competition. This monthApril she has also been crowned Miss England and Miss Photographic in the Pre Teen categories of another pageant run by the academy at Lenwade House Hotel. Brogan, who has been in remission from leukaemia for two years, said: “I really hope this encourages other people to follow their dreams. Keep fighting and you will get where you want to be.”
Alfie’s awesome fundraising for cancer charity
Nine-year-old Alfie Oswick has a dream to become a scientist and cure cancer, and in the meantime he has been working hard to raise as much money as he can for Dereham Cancer Care.
Alfie, a pupil at Cawston Church of England Primary Academy, set up an “Awesome Appeal” which has to date raised an impressive £4,330 through raffles, quiz nights and other activities.
He is fundraising for a cause close to his heart because his mum Jennifer has battled skin cancer and he has lost two grandparents to cancer, and Alfie wanted to thank Dereham Care Care for how it has supported his family.
The Cawston youngster - who was a finalist in the Young Person of the Year category of the the EDP Stars of Norfolk & Waveney Awards - hopes to raise more funds in the future and that his efforts will also encourage others to support the vital work of cancer charities.
Alfie and his mum hope to hold a big fundraising day later in 2018.
Kind-hearted Tia’s quest to help others and make people smile
Kind-hearted teenager Tia Hutchinson has been raising funds for good causes and spreading happiness with her venture Tia’s Treasures for a number of years.
The 13-year-old Ormiston Venture Academy pupil from Gorleston was just six when she started her fundraising project in May 2011. She began by making bracelets and keyrings for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent because her best friend Demi had been battling retinoblastoma. Since then Tia has diversified into making all manner of trinkets and raised more than £5,000 for various charities, and she has received several well-deserved awards along the way.
She has also enlisted the help of her brothers. Together they now deliver trinkets as random acts of kindness on what they call Treasure Tuesdays, and at Christmas they also visited the James Paget University Hospital to deliver gifts to patients in the children’s ward.
“I like to help people and make people smile,” Tia said. “I hope Tia’s Treasures will inspire other people to use their creativity to support charities and help others.”
A true champion of the environment
Hellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes is a truly inspiring champion of the environment.
She was ridiculed by bullies and called “Trash Girl” for her efforts to pick up litter along her two-mile route to school each day - but she refused to let them stop her quest to protect the planet.
Instead she embraced the nickname Trash Girl and said: “I’m not going to stop doing the right thing because of them, and if they are going to call me trash girl, they can say it with respect.
“I’m doing something to protect the world they also live in. It’s everyone’s job. We are all responsible for keeping this world safe.”
Nadia, 12, who lives in Hellesdon, has gone on to inspire people worldwide and the World Wildlife Fund was so impressed that it made her one of the charity’s youngest-ever ambassadors for Earth Hour.
Her Team Trash Girl Facebook page - on which she encourages people to pick up three pieces of litter a day - now has more than 3,700 members.
Her newfound fame for her eco-friendly ways has also led to her being a special guest at a screening of Mighty Atom Entertainment’s film Litterbugs at the Odeon in Norwich and she has also been the subject of one of Norfolk van artist Ruddy Muddy’s famous works of art.