Young Stars Shine at Spectacular Youth Showcase Awards
All ages came together on 23 March for the glamorous Youth Showcase Awards, which celebrated the many outstanding achievements of Mole Valley's young people.
Now in its fourteenth year, the ceremony took place at a dazzlingly-decorated Dorking Halls.
Mole Valley District Council and Youth Voice, Mole Valley's Youth Council, organise the event, which is the highlight of the young councillors' year.
A number of young local performers took to the stage to entertain the audience.
D Lionz dance squad from Dandelion Theatre Arts group in Leatherhead opened the ceremony in dramatic style. They were followed by effortlessly cool singer-songwriter Josh Suggitt, otherwise known as The Town Crier, who sung covers of popular songs.
Friends from The Ashcombe School, Matt and Joe, took to the piano and guitar to play lively mashups of their favourite songs, and local ballet star Charlie Taylor performed an energetic and graceful composition.
Female vocalists Rebecca Harris and Venus enchanted the audience with their melodic voices, while indie and folk fan Ryan Burman and his band closed the show with a guitar-licking, heartfelt set.
Just over £157 was raised for the youth councillors' chosen charity, Dorking Minds, which provides services and support to enable people in the area to take control of their mental health.
Following a huge number of nominations from across Mole Valley, the award winners are as follows.
The Volunteering Award: Jenny Ward, The Ashcombe School
Jenny has helped out at her local scouts for a long time, always with a big smile on her face. She also helps local youth groups to promote their work on social media.
The Sporting Achievement Award: Sophie Scott, St Andrew's Catholic School
Sophie started gymnastics at Leatherhead and Dorking Gymnastics Club when she was just four years old. Despite injuries, 12 years later she is still committed to the sport and club. After becoming the British Junior Vault Champion at the Gymnastics British Championships, she was selected for the 2017 Senior GB Squad and became the 2017 English Champion, aged just 16.
The Creativity Award: Yvette Murphy, St John's School
Yvette is a talented and committed organist with a passion for liturgical music. Since joining the 6th form, she has played at school and weekly church services. She will soon begin an organ scholarship at Selwyn College, Cambridge. It is young musicians like Yvette who will help to ensure that the tradition of organ music is kept alive.
The Teamwork Award: Lucerna Candles
The Ashcombe School friends launched a successful business selling homemade, scented teacup candles. Thanks to excellent teamwork, organisation and creativity, they took nearly £1,000 profit in eight months. The project involved souring materials, manufacturing and wrapping hundreds of candles, and attending events to sell their products. They even won Best Trade Stand at the Surrey Young Enterprise finals.
Outstanding Achievement Award: Alex Plumpton, Woodlands School
Alex has Down's syndrome and started gymnastics two years ago. He has taken part in Christmas displays and competitions, winning three gold medals and one silver. His nominee, who calls him an 'inspiration', wanted Alex to be recognised for his hard work and commitment to the sport.
Junior Youth Voice Specialist Award: Miss Beet, St Martin's School
The young pupil who nominated Miss Beet said: "I think my teacher is amazing because she supports me in everything I do and believes I can do anything. With Miss Beet as my teacher I believe I will fly through my SATS. I really believe she should win the award."
Chief Executive of MVDC Karen Brimacombe, who presented the Teamwork award, said: "This was a really enjoyable, well-organised evening. We're all very proud of these talented young people, and their long list of achievements. A big thank you and congratulations to everyone involved."
Clare Davies from Dorking Fridge said of being asked to present the Volunteering award: "It was a real privilege; I had no idea there were so many talented young people in Mole Valley, and it was lovely to meet some of them. It's great to be acknowledged for working hard at one's passion. In fact, I would argue that this is what education should be all about!"
Find out more about Dorking Minds: dorkingminds.org.uk