Nominate your young citizen of the year

THE search is on to find young people who deserve to be nominated for the Sudbury Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Award 2012.

For the past three years, the town’s two Rotary Clubs, the Free Press and Waitrose have joined forces to seek out and recognise young people who demonstrate the very best qualities of good citizenship.

Previous nominations have overcome personal difficulties, such as chronic illness and family bereavement, or have helped others to cope with illness or disability.

Last year’s winner was former Sudbury Upper School student Holly Watson, who spearheaded an anti-knife crime campaign, a year after her step-brother, Lewis, died in a knife attack in Sudbury.

Holly went on to also win one of the Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RIBI) Young Citizen Awards, which included live interviews and film for the BBC News Channel.

Since Holly launched her anti-knife campaign, which has been linked to Suffolk Police’s “Bin-a-blade” scheme, more than 5,000 knives have been taken off the streets across the county by people using the knife amnesty to dispose of weapons.

Sudbury’s Waitrose store provides the challenge trophy for the winner and medals for those shortlisted for the finals.

There will also be cash prizes of £100, £75 and £50 for the top three, funded by Sudbury and Sudbury Talbot Rotary Clubs, plus certificates of excellence for all the winners and certificates of commendation for other nominees.

Endorsing the award scheme, Lord Phillips of Sudbury said: “I firmly believe that the vast majority of young people are fundamentally good citizens, and we can better help them develop their responsibilities of citizenship by encouraging them rather than condemning them.

“Too often, the minority of young people, who act irresponsibly and anti-socially, are seen as being representative of the majority.

“With these awards, I believe we will be able to show the people of Sudbury and district that the vast majority of our youngsters have the makings of being exemplary citizens.”