Comet country youngsters up for top award
- Credit: Archant
A teenager who set up a bereavement support group for children after both her parents died, and another who has volunteered to improve international relations, are the Comet country finalists in the Mitsubishi Electric Young People of the Year (YOPEY) awards.
The mother of Chloie Duguid died in her arms and within months she also lost her father.
Before leaving The Priory School in Hitchin this summer, 16-year-old Chloie set up bereavement group Bravement, run for and by youngsters. The idea is spreading to other schools in Hertfordshire.
In October 2011 Chloie was in bed with her mum Sharon when she died aged 46. A coroner later recorded a verdict of death by natural causes. In July 2012 Chloie’s dad Michael fell over in the bathroom and was taken to Lister Hospital where he died from pneumonia and septicaemia.
Chloie has since gone to live with eldest sister Kirsty, who has two young children, and her partner Kevin in Beaumont Close, Hitchin. “She had bad days, suffered panic attacks, blaming herself for what had happened,” said Kirsty.
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During one difficult spell at the Bedford Road school, Chloie talked to individual study centre assistant Jasbir Jaswal. They talked about her feelings and that there were other students going through the same trauma.
Soon the Priory’s Bravement Group had 13 members meeting at lunchtimes with Chloie taking the lead. “By reaching out to others they find they can open up about their feelings,” said Chloie.
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The group has held assemblies and developed rememberance packs where memories of a lost loved one, like their favourite song or what made them smile, are saved in a folder.
“We will always have the pain but now we know we are not the only one feeling sad,” added Chloie.
Another teenager who has been working to help deprived children in Africa is up for the same award.
Former Marriotts School pupil Tinotende Ishe Kainga, known as Tino, has been raising funds for the Stevenage Kadoma Link – an association dedicated to supporting a school in her native Zimbabwe, for six years.
The 19-year-old, of Trumper Road, Stevenage, was instrumental in furthering the education of the Zimbabwean students by organising a fundraising Africa Day each year at school.
She was nominated by her citizenship teacher, Heather Bullen.
Ms Bullen said: “Tino has worked closely with the Stevenage Kadoma Link Association to help forge links with our partner school in Zimbabwe. She has worked evenings and weekends to help plan, organise and deliver celebratory and fundraising activities, including teaching younger and shy students how to take part.”
Tino, who came to England from Zimbabwe as a child, said: “I started organising events as well as giving money and encouraged other to give as well, using a few hours after school. It makes a huge difference,” she said.