June-July 2023 |

A celebration of young achievers

A celebration of young achievers

Young people across Great Britain & Ireland have been recognised for their fantactic achievemnets within their communities at the Rotary Young Citizen Awards 2023.


Loneliness - The Most Terrible Poverty

June - July 2023

View All

Hosted by past winners Grace O’Malley, who won in 2013, and Theo Sergiou, a 2020 winner, they presented the inspirational winners with their awards at St. Benedict’s School in Alcester, Warwickshire in April.

Meet the outstanding winners!

Listen to this article

Ella (Eloise) Pennycott, nominated by Brentwood a Becket Rotary Club, Essex


Eighteen-year-old Ella has been recognised for raising awareness and fighting for the rights of the deaf community. Having lost her hearing at the age of 13, Ella joined the National Deaf Children’s Society’s young people’s advisory board and formed a campaign “Deaf Works Everywhere”. She has spoken in Parliament and written a play which became the first to debut at the National Theatre with British Sign Language as its primary language.


Matthew Howard, nominated by Thorpe Bay Rotary Club, Essex

For the past two years, 16-year-old Matthew has been developing GAEE UK – a youth-led charity dedicated to improving financial literacy and economic education. GAEE UK has developed a student blog and YouTube channel where they have published over 50 articles, videos and book reviews that have been read over 13,000 times. The charity has developed online seminars introducing young people to economics beyond the A-level syllabus to prepare them for university life.


Landon Maynard, nominated by Bristol Breakfast Rotary Club


When he was nine-years-old, Landon wanted to give local families and children a different activity which led to him forming ‘The Lego Legends’, a Lego-building group at his local community centre. The Lego Legends became the fastest growing group at the community centre that a larger venue was secured to accommodate everyone.


Ben Kane, nominated by The Rotary Club of Gourock, Renfrew, Scotland


After his brother died, 17-year-old Ben has worked tirelessly over the past three years to ensure his school offers vital support to students who have recently experienced bereavement. Ben founded the Clydeview Bereavement Support Group, alongside a member of staff. The support group offers grieving students activities and one to one sessions to help them feel supported during a potentially isolating experience.


Aarya Patil, nominated by The Rotary Club of Jersey


In 2022, Aarya organised a ‘Festival of Cultures’ for over 700 students and staff at her college in Jersey featuring workshops to display the diverse range of cultures at the college. Aarya, 15, is part of the Cultural Centre Steering Group, a working party set up by the Government of Jersey to promote cultural diversity and arts within the local community.


Jasmine Harrison, nominated by The Rotary Club of Thirsk, North Yorkshire


In 2021, Jasmine became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Not content with just one world record, Jasmine became the first woman to swim the entire length of the UK in 2022. Jasmine’s swim raised money for the marine conservation charity, Sea Shepherd UK and Surfers Against Sewage. She is a motivational public speaker encouraging young people to aspire and reach their potential whilst raising funds for ShelterBox and environmental charities.


Young Citizen Environmental Award

Nina Kirk, nominated by The Rotary Club of Gourock, Renfrew, Scotland

Seventeen-year-old Nina has always been passionate about the environment and started a litter pick to achieve a Duke of Edinburgh Award. Her efforts led to speaking at the “Take Pride in Inverclyde” Eco Summit Workshop. She spoke to a range of MP’s and environmentalists at COP 26 as a Net Zero Ambassador for the UK.


Young Citizen Sporting Hero

Alex Williams and Serenity Scott (NXT Generation MMA Teesside), nominated by The Rotary Club of Guisborough & Great Ayton, North Yorkshire


Seventeen-year-old Alex and 21-year-old Serenity are Brazilian jiu-jitsu champions. When Alex suffered an unprovoked attack during his first month of sixth form college and defended himself with a jiu-jitsu move, he and Serenity felt inspired to share their skills. This founded NXT Generation MMA Teesside – a club that runs self-defence sessions for under-12s. They opened their gym in December 2021 and train up to 20 children twice a week.

Young Citizen Peacemaker Award

Yanick Maseko, nominated by Newton-le-Willows Rotary Club, Merseyside


Nineteen-year-old Yanick has been using music as an effective way of dispelling misconceptions about autism. An autistic adult, he has broken down barriers with the success of his music on Spotify and YouTube. Yanick set up the college band Electric Stars to raise the profile of autism and act as music therapy for his peers.


Children of Courage

Liliane Cunliffe, nominated by Rugby Rotary Club, Warwickshire


In 2020, eight-year-old Liliane was diagnosed with Absence Epilepsy. It was then discovered she has a brain deformity called Polymicrogyria. Liliane decided she wanted to support people with epilepsy. She took part in the Epilepsy Society’s Challenge 100 – walking 100 miles in 100 days – completing the challenge and raising over £1,100 for the charity.


Lewis Rennie, nominated by The Rotary Club of Larne, County Antrim, Northern Ireland


When Lewis’ younger brother Callum died from cancer, Lewis knew at just six-years-old he wanted to help others struggling with cancer. He walked 100 miles to raise money for the Big C Foundation NI set up by his dad in memory of Callum, raising

£16,240 which was presented to the Big C Foundation.


Maisie Askew, nominated by Bexhill Rotary Club, East Sussex


Twelve-year-old Maisie was diagnosed with Osteoblastoma (a benign bone tumour) in January 2021. When the tumour came back after treatment, doctors decided to treat it as Osteosarcoma (aggressive primary bone cancer). Over the last two and a half years, she has spent several months in hospital enduring eight months of chemotherapy and surgery including one operation which lasted over two days. While undergoing chemotherapy, she started her fundraising business ‘Beads Together’, selling self-made bracelets and raising over £2,500 for the Children with Cancer Fund.

Our magazine covers a wide range of fascinating features, exclusive interviews and inspiring human interest stories from across the world of Rotary.

Listen in audio format Download full digital edition

Rotary Magazine