Northam boy Jack Hopkins presented with Medal of Honour

(L to R) Television presenter Anthea Turner, award winner Jack Hopkins and Dame Mary Perkins

(L to R) Television presenter Anthea Turner, award winner Jack Hopkins and Dame Mary Perkins - Credit: BCA

Seven-year-old Northam boy Jack Hopkins has been presented with the Medal of Honour in the British Citizen Youth Awards 2021.

Despite the pandemic, The British Citizen Youth Award continued to receive nominations from around the UK for young, inspirational members of the community who were making a difference.

In a daunting and unprecedented year, these selfless young people continued to show kindness and a commitment to their community. 

This week, 23 extraordinary young people have been honoured with The British Citizen Youth Award for the 2021 Roll of Honour. 

Hosting the event was television presenter Anthea Turner who said: “This group of British Citizen Youth Award medallists represented community leadership, tech for good, climate campaigns and social conscience. Having met them all, it made me more confident of the future than I have felt for some time. These are amazing young people who deserve this recognition and I hope others aspire to be like them. 

Jack Hopkins, seven, from Northam in North Devon, was presented with the Medal of Honour at the Palace of Westminster, from Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers. 

The British Citizen Youth Award in association with Specsavers is now in its fifth year and recognises exceptional under 18’s who have positively impacted their communities through the county. 

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At the age of just five, Jack faced the onset of lockdown along with the rest of the nation. He soon became increasingly fed up and lost his motivation to do his schoolwork.

Jack, who attends Appledore School, knew that he would like to do something positive, so decided to raise money and help the NHS. 

Wanting to keep fit, and healthy too, he decided to walk 5km twice a week. Initially setting a target of raising £100, Jack went on to walk 50km in just five weeks, raising over £1,550. 

The money raised was donated to NHS Together and Jack’s Facebook page helped to put a smile on the faces of his local community. Everyone looked forward to the twice weekly updates and photos of Jack on his walk. 

In the months following his fundraising, he has been voted ‘lockdown legend’ by the Royal Memorial Museum of Exeter. 

Jack was, like many children in lockdown, suffering from uncertainty and fear at the future. By raising money for such a worthy cause, Jack felt like he was making a difference and as well as his own mental health benefitting from raising money and keeping fit, Jack shared this journey with the local community. 

Dame Mary Perkins, Patron of the BCA said: “The British Citizen Youth Award recipients are very special individuals. These young people all go above and beyond for others with selfless acts of kindness and community spirit with no thought or expectation of praise or reward. These awards are a great opportunity to shine a light on what they do and give them the recognition they so thoroughly deserve. They are the nation's true unsung heroes and the rising stars of the future.” 

Each Medal of Honour bears the words ‘For the Good of the Country’ and are presented to only a small number of exceptional young individuals annually. The British Citizen Youth Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday young people for exceptional endeavour and are truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain. 

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 medal presentations, register online at www.britishcitizenyouthawards.co.uk

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