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Award helps to boost Dereham teenager’s sign language campaign

PUBLISHED: 11:47 03 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:47 03 July 2015

Jade Chapman (left) with her sister Laura. Picture: Ian Burt.

Jade Chapman (left) with her sister Laura. Picture: Ian Burt.

Archant © 2014

More young people are being given the chance to learn sign language thanks to the inspirational campaign of teenager Jade Chapman.

How to enter the Youth Awards

The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the EDP, is back for a seventh year and nominations are now open for the awards which each have a £1,000 prize. There are seven categories – food and farming, sport, community, charity, bravery, arts and education – and these are open to young people aged 11 to 18 who live in Norfolk or Suffolk. Young people can also nominate adults who they think are young people’s champions for a hero award, and the prize for this is a special trophy.

The winners will be revealed at a ceremony in October at OPEN, in Norwich. Young people can either enter themselves or be nominated by somebody else. The closing date is August 21. For more information visit www.bmyouthawards.com, call 01603 706566 or follow @bmyouthawards on Twitter.

Seventeen-year-old Jade won the education award at the 2014 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards for her Let Sign Shine campaign, and she donated her £1,000 prize to her old school – Neatherd High School in Dereham – so that the school could offer sign language lessons to pupils.

Now the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards is looking for more amazing young people from Norfolk and Suffolk to honour at its 2015 awards.

Jade, whose inspiration 
for her campaign is her 11-year-old sister Laura 
who is profoundly deaf, said: “I was so shocked when I won. I wasn’t expecting it at all. It meant a lot to me because it meant I could put the prize money towards something very important to me.

“All of the prize money went to my former school to run sign language classes every Monday for 13 weeks, and seeing that put in place was amazing.” Jade, who has just finished her A-levels at Dereham Sixth Form and is hoping pursue a career in teaching, is determined to keep raising awareness about the importance of sign language.

The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2014. Rebecca Adlington with the winner of the Education Award, Jade Chapman, and her younger sister, Laura. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY.The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2014. Rebecca Adlington with the winner of the Education Award, Jade Chapman, and her younger sister, Laura. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY.

She is asking people to sign a petition calling for all schools to teach sign language, and so far she has collected about 4,500 signatures.

The Dereham teenager also encouraged other young people to enter this year’s Bernard Matthews Youth Awards.

“I think the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards are amazing, and it is great that they give prizes out to help people who want to help others. It’s wonderful,” she said.

For more about Jade’s Let Sign Shine campaign visit http://letsignshine.com/

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