Helpful trio reaches the county final

TWO sisters and a friend are to represent North Herts in the Hertfordshire Young People of the Year final next spring. Ellie and Jess Males and Jack Bottesch secured their places in the biggest Yopey yet by winning the North Hertfordshire heat for the h

TWO sisters and a friend are to represent North Herts in the Hertfordshire Young People of the Year final next spring.

Ellie and Jess Males and Jack Bottesch secured their places in the "biggest Yopey yet" by winning the North Hertfordshire heat for the help they gave the sisters' brother Joe after he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

The sisters, from Old Hale Way, Hitchin, and Jack, from Bedford Road, Holwell, have already won £1,000. Now they are in the running for a further £5,000 in prizes.

Stevenage's young representative at the county final is yet to be decided as the town's Yopey is still running.


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The county final - which will include a young representative from each of the 10 districts or boroughs in Hertfordshire plus some 'wildcard' entries from across the county - will be held at County Hall, Hertford, in May.

The final is being sponsored by Hertfordshire Police Authority, which oversees the county's police force, Connexions Hertfordshire, the youth advisory service, and BAA Stansted, the airport operator.

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The three organisations have put up £5,000 in prize money and paid for a celebration of the positive contributions many young people make to society.

Yopey founder Tony Gearing said: "This is the biggest Yopey yet. The best of the best of Herts young people will be amazing an audience of dignitaries and leading local politicians with the positive things they do for their communities."

Police Authority chairman Ian Laidlaw-Dickson said: "We often hear about nuisance behaviour by young people but rarely the other side of the coin. The majority of young people are honest and hard working and these awards recognise the excellent and heart-warming things they do for others."

Connexions chief executive Andrew Simmons said: "We're proud to be associated with these awards highlighting many of the valuable contributions young people make to their communities."

The county final is open to wildcard entries from young people from North Hertfordshire who did not take part in the local Yopey. They must be aged from 10 to 25 and "give to others". They can enter themselves or be nominated as individuals or groups.

The winner will receive £2,000 with a runner-up receiving £1,000.

The police authority is offering a special prize of £2,000 for the best community safety entry. This is aimed at young people who make their communities better, and safer, places to live.

Hertfordshire Young People of the Year winners will share their prizes equally with not-for-profit organisations that work with young people, such as schools, youth clubs and charities. To date over 1,500 young people have entered Yopeys and over £20,000 given out in prizes.

The North Herts winners, who shared their £1,000 winnings with Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where Joe Males was treated, said: "We're really looking forward to taking part in the final and hearing what fantastic things other young people across Hertfordshire have been up to."

The kind of positive actions Yopey "reveals, recognises and rewards" include:

* Caring for family who may be ill, disabled of have other problems;

* Helping run a youth club or other organisation;

* Looking after abandoned or neglected animals;

* Making communities safer through initiative or behaviour;

* Raising money for charity or other good causes;

* Showing a spirit in adversity that is an example to others.

* Supporting or mentoring someone through a difficult time;

* Volunteering for projects at home or abroad;

* Working with disabled, ill or elderly people.

"The list is actually endless," said Mr Gearing. "The only requirement is that the entry 'gives to others'."

Enter or nominate online at www.yopey.org www.youngpeopleoftheyear.org or write to Young People of the Year, PO Box 103, Hare Street, Ware SG9 0XD, for a paper form.

The Stevenage Yopey closes to entries on Monday, January 8. Stevenage's Young Person of the Year will be announced at GlaxoSmithKline in February and then go forward to the Hertfordshire final.

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