Community salute to the caring youngsters who put others first

Garstang's new young mayor Oliver Atkinson pictured with members of the new Youth Council.  Pictured clockwise from top left are Youth Council founder coun Lynn Harter, Faye Mower, Will Atkinson, Bethany Wright-Graham, Nathan Halford, town clerk Edwina Parry, Robert Ibison, Louise McCarthy, Oliver Atkinson, Myles Sutcliffe and Zak Rafiq.

Garstang's new young mayor Oliver Atkinson pictured with members of the new Youth Council. Pictured clockwise from top left are Youth Council founder coun Lynn Harter, Faye Mower, Will Atkinson, Bethany Wright-Graham, Nathan Halford, town clerk Edwina Parry, Robert Ibison, Louise McCarthy, Oliver Atkinson, Myles Sutcliffe and Zak Rafiq.

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Three caring young people are the toast of the town – after winning top trophies for their community minded voluntary and charity work.

Bethany Wright Graham has won the Lady Atkins Senior Garstang Citizen of the Year Award 2014.

Meanwhile two brothers, Conor and Sean Brooks, have been named Carrs Junior Citizen of the Year.

All three were presented with their awards following a very special mayor making - the installation of Garstang’s new Young Mayor Oliver Atkinson at the first meeting of the new Garstang Youth Council for 2014/15.

Oliver, 12, says he is looking forward to his year in office and has already nominated the Kepple Lane Park Trust as his chosen charity.

Oliver, who attends Garstang Community Academy and is a former pupil of Kirkland and Catterall primary school, joined the Youth Council a year ago.

He said: “I’m looking forward to getting involved in the community. My aim is to get the opinion of the youth – what needs improving, what’s good about Garstang and what they want in Garstang.”

The Citizen awards were introduced by Town Councillor and Youth Council founder Lynn Harter, who had the tables turned when the Youth Council presented her with a “Garstang Community Star” award.

She said: “Garstang is absolutely bursting with young people who quietly get involved with local community groups, are enthusiastic members of their schools, churches or youth groups, are socially minded, and are continually putting forward their ideas and efforts into raising money for charity.”

The nomination papers gave an insight into young people’s outstanding contribution to local life. Judges were told that Bethany, who won the accolade for 12 -18 year-olds, has always shown “a caring and outgoing nature and is always to the fore in helping others, particularly young children.”

In the past year she has organised and enlisted the help of friends to run two cake stalls, raising more than £300 for charities Rainbow House and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation. She helped with the ‘clean up’ for Garstang in Bloom and spent several evenings this summer picking up litter in the town and weeding flower beds.

She is an active member of Garstang’s Youth Council and has in the past year helped to raise money for the Young Mayor’s Charity, attended the town flag raising on Armed Forces Day and gone carol singing.In addition she helps with the Morecambe Bay Food Bank and at “Wesleys” community coffee lounge.

Brothers Conor and Sean who won the Carrs’ award for 5 - 11 year-olds, were praised for their work as very good neighbours and for taking a full and helpful part in SS Mary and Michael’s school, community and church activities.

Described as “selfless”, judges heard how both boys had been altar servers in school and parish services.

Conor volunteered to be a playground buddy where he keeps an eye out for children who look sad or left out and also has trained to help with the parent drop off scheme at his school whereby pupils help children to get onto the school playground safely

Judges were told: “He attends a lot of after school club activities with enthusiasm, is a great team member who encourages his peers.”

Both brothers help an elderly neighbour by visiting him and helping with his gardening.

Sean, who is now at secondary school, was also nominated for helping at school.

Judges were told how he had attended after school club activities with enthusiasm and was a great sports person and team member representing his junior school as a school ambassador.

He had often shown parents around school.