Winner: Edd Hollier
Edd Hollier together with many friends including Alfie Higgins, Chloe Ayling and Luke Wojkik established a group called Clean up Chelmsford. This non-profit group began when a few 18 year olds from Chelmsford were at a loose end and decided to spend their time picking up litter. They came across a once beautiful area that was neglected; it had become overgrown, was covered with loads of rubbish and tipping debris. They formed a plan to work on restoring the area to make it suitable for everyone in the community to use. They decided to call themselves ‘Clean up Chelmsford’. They persuaded tree surgeon Mark Box to lend his services for free and together they turned an eyesore into an attractive wildlife garden suitable for families, and safe for children to play. As they progressed they posted photos and videos on social media. They arranged a group funding page and gathered more help, at one stage they had a pool of 240 volunteers. They ran litter picks with local social clubs, went to schools and talked about the environment and assisting the community. All was not plain sailing, one evening Edd was set upon by a group of loud and unruly youngsters, when he asked them to pick up their litter he was attacked, fortunately he managed to make it home, almost unscathed. After reporting to the Police, Edd arranged for CCTV to be installed and some Solar powered lighting. Apart from influence, advice and sharing their knowledge, the group have now had to return to their studies. Next year Ed hopes to begin his studies in Bath University in a ten year quest to become a Psychotherapist. He and his friends will have left behind a legacy that could, and should, improve all our futures.
Highly Commended: Michael Harnett
Michael is a professional disability tennis player. He plays in the LTA’s National
GB Tennis Squad for learning disability. Since joining the squad, he has been working hard in the hope of being selected to represent the country internationally. He currently trains at the National Tennis Centre in London. Michael has won many National events, including gold medals, at various disability tennis tournaments across the UK. He is currently training to become a fully qualified tennis coach, as he wants to give something back to the community around him, and keep the passion of tennis alive. Michael has just recently been appointed as an Ambassador for the ‘Give It Your Max’ organisation based in London, their aim is to support and encourage children from underprivileged backgrounds to play tennis. They want him to visit different schools and events, to share his story with children of all ages. His sister Kerry-Alice says, “Michael is a truly inspirational young man, despite facing adversity in life, he has already achieved a great deal”
Highly Commended: Harrison Fernandez
Harrison is a young lad aged 13 who is Autistic. He is an ambassador for an organisation called The Multi Schools Council who strive to break down perceptions in disabilities and Mental health. He has raised awareness through talking about his own experiences such as the bullying he received when he first got into secondary school. He has been involved in various projects involving The Multi Schools Council, such as speaking at an inclusion conference for head teachers, he’s always present at meetings and gives great ideas. He also climbed Mount Snowdon to raise money for The Multi Schools Council. He has overcome a lot of adversities at such a young age and yet he’s always helping others even putting them before himself. He was awarded ambassador of the year in 2020 for The Multi Schools Council for breaking down perceptions, attending events on their behalf. He has also supported Essex with improvements he is truly an inspiration. Harrison has raised awareness around Autism and has done videos in the past talking about Autism and why he embraces it, and why it makes him who he is.
His Nominator Connell Scholar says “I’m so proud of the way he’s overcome
adversities at such a young age, he’s like a little brother to me and I know for
a fact he’ll go on to achieve great things"
Highly Commended: Joshua Rolph-Wills
In 2014 younger brother Harry was diagnosed with battens disease, a life limiting neuro-degenerative condition. Harry lost all life skills one by one. Joshua courageously took each loss head-on for his brother, learning the medical procedures needed to support him, such as tube feeding and suctioning. Joshua also helped our family create a charity called ‘sponsor a sibling’ to support those who have a poorly brother or sister like himself. His Mother says, “Joshua always puts everybody else before himself. He thoroughly deserves to be recognised for the inspirational young man he is”.
Highly Commended: Connor Boutell
Connor is a member of the Witham Community Facebook page and there you are be able to see, from his many posts, what a kind and thoughtful young man he is. Connor is passionate about the care of animals and wildlife. ‘Foxed Out’ is a group he made for anyone to join, regardless of age. They seek to educate through posters (and printable information sheets on all native wildlife), fact posts, harmless/peaceful activism, and rescuing. There are fun ideas for children and adults to do regarding animals, including craft projects for children to do for hedgehogs, birds, and our native reptiles and amphibians! Making sure the little ones can get involved too but safely! He also cares about his community and makes a great effort to contribute.