Young people

Outstanding young people recognised in 17th Rotary Young Citizen Awards

Outstanding young people recognised in 17th Rotary Young Citizen Awards

Young people from across the country have had their inspiring volunteering, fundraising and social impact recognised by Rotary in the annual Rotary Young Citizen Awards.

Since their inception in 2007, the Rotary Young Citizen Awards have celebrated hundreds of inspirational young role models from across Great Britain and Ireland.

Each year, Rotary clubs nominate worthy young people from their community for the awards to showcase what they have achieved locally, nationally or, in some cases, even internationally.

2024’s winners come from a variety of walks of life, but what has united them is their dedication to helping others, championing the causes they care about and overcoming adversity.

We also welcomed back two former winners as hosts this year, with 2015 Rotary Young Citizens Bella Field and Katriona Goodsell presenting.

The ceremony took place as part of a joint event, which also included the Rotary Young Chef competition, where the next generation of culinary talents were crowned.

Meet the 2024 Rotary Young Citizen Award winners:


Madison Wright

Nominated by Rotary Club of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

At just 10-years-old, Madison Wright began a fully committed campaign to raise money for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice (NICH) when she learned that her best friend, Noah and his younger sister had been diagnosed with Leukodystrophy, a life-limiting disease.

Within 4 years she had raised £17,000 for the hospice through a variety of different fundraisers, including a collaboration with the local football team, Carrick Rangers.

As the years have passed, Madison’s dedication to supporting the Hospice has only grown stronger, most recently organising two gala balls at the prestigious Titanic Building in Belfast that collectively raised over £50,000. In her decade of fundraising Madison has raised over £100,000 for the NICH, ensuring that the hospice can continue to provide vital care to children with life-limiting or life-shortening diagnoses.


Eva Hambley

Nominated by Redcar Rotary Club, North Yorkshire

Eva Hambley, a young survivor of sexual assault, consistently uses her voice to fight for change on behalf of countless others who have experienced similar trauma. Recognising the limitations of current support systems, Eva uses various platforms to highlight the urgency of providing timely and comprehensive care for survivors, including immediate access to mental health services.

She actively collaborates with organisations like Barnardo’s and the PCC (Police & Crime Commissioners) to create educational videos based on her story and actively contributing to the PCC Youth Advocacy Group.

Eva bravely gave a speech in parliament sharing her story and outlining the need for legislative changes to ensure victims receive the legal and emotional support they deserve. Ultimately, Eva’s wants to see systemic change that provides comprehensive support and empowers survivors to heal.


Layan Hassan

Nominated by Ormskirk Clocktower Rotary Club, Lancashire

Layan Hassan, an elected Youth MP, champions the cause and diversity within schools and looks to address systemic inequality. Layan recently attended the annual House Of Commons sitting to discuss universal free school meals and gave a speech entitled “The standardisation of food”, having been selected to share her thoughts by the House Of Commons Deputy Speaker.

Following her debut in the House of Commons, local newspapers highlighted Layan’s impactful campaign and parliamentary involvement. Furthermore, Layan joined the National Youth Agency (NYA) as a Young Assessor, playing a pivotal role in evaluating applications from marginalised communities and organisations seeking funding and support.

Collaborating with the NYA, Layan and her peers facilitated the allocation of over £300 million to aid youth groups and disadvantaged communities nationwide. Layan is regarded as an influential figure in her community and serves as an inspiration to countless other young people.


Naimah Kadar

Nominated by Buxton Rotary Club, Derbyshire

Since joining the Lindley Educational Trust through the Rank Aspire programme two years ago, Naimiah Kadar has been on amazing journey of growth and seized the opportunities to grow her outdoor educational skills.

Through working closely with others in her local area through the Lindley Youth Club provision (Ashton Youth Club) in Ashton-under-Lyne, Naimiah has become a role model for other young women, especially young Muslim women, in her community.

Naimah has shown her leadership skills during a whole range of adventures over the past couple of years, whether that was being a young leader on a Winter Skills adventure to the Cairngorms or taking a group of young people up Mount Toubkal in Morocco. Recently, Naimah took on the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and smashed her fundraising target to raise £3,800 for charity.


Nahian Joyeta

Nominated by Redbridge Rotary Club, East London

Despite experiencing eviction whilst helping her mum recover from major surgery, Nahian Joyeta never let these difficult circumstances affect her passion for school and it was at Ursuline Academy, Ilford, that she developed her passion for mathematics and robotics.

Nahian flourished in the school’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programme and was recently a member of the Design Future London Challenge winning team for 2023. During this time, she has helped other young girls discover STEM, becoming a key figure in the Stemettes mentoring programme.

Outside of education, Nahian keeps takes part in several community initiatives as a member of the Redbridge Youth Council. She is currently working with UNICEF and the local police to make the Redbridge a more friendly place for young people, with the current focus being on making Redbridge the first London borough to be free of child vaping.


Anthony Knight

Nominated by Taunton Rotary Club, Somerset

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anthony Knight saw the suffering of the civilian population and wanted to do something practical to help. Anthony started playing his violin in local churches and care homes, asking for donations to the DEC Ukraine Appeal, and after 75 of those performances he raised nearly £14,000.

However, Anthony was not content with this and wanted to use his talents to raise even more money for charity. Last Summer, he embarked on the first leg of a Grand Tour across Europe that is raising money for UNICEF.

In total, he will visit twelve countries on the tour and recently had to increase his fundraising target to £20,000 after surpassing the £10,000 he originally set. Despite his extraordinary talent and multiple awards won, Anthony remains grateful for any opportunity that comes his way and his highly regarded by his peers for both his generosity and humility.


Sophie Hebdon

Rotary Young Citizen Environmentalist Award
Nominated by Teesdale and District Eco Rotary Club, County Durham

Ever since finding hedgehogs in her school field in summer 2022, 10-year-old Sophie Hebdon has dedicated herself to hedgehog welfare! Sophie and her family researched hedgehog feeding stations and made a couple of them to pop on the school allotment, which was the start of nightly visits to fill the stations.

Sophie now keeps an eye out for any hedgehogs who may need help and has helped rescue several hedgehogs, even helping to build a soft release area in her school to help rescued hedgehogs be released back out into the wild.

Sophie has been lucky enough to help at both of her local hedgehog rescue centres, who have supported her on her hedgehog fostering journey. Maxine Bellwood of A Prickly Haven Hedgehog Hotel said: “She knows when one is in trouble, she gets them into rescue as quickly as possible. I wish there were more people like Sophie.”


Rhys McCole

Rotary Young Citizen Peacemaker Award
Nominated by Gourock Rotary Club, West Scotland

Rhys McCole has been fighting for his life ever since he was born, having been diagnosed with a hole in his heart, auditory processing disorder, dyslexia, autism and asthma as well as having to battle sepsis and a ruptured appendix. Despite all of this, he has worked his way to becoming a full-time boxing coach and fitness instructor as well as the only ‘para-disabled’ boxer in the world to compete in mainstream boxing.

Rhys currently has his own boxing initiative, and he works in conjunction with local schools in his hometown of Inverclyde, Scotland, to encourage not just health and fitness but also messages of anti-weapons, anti-bullying, anti-substance abuse, anti-smoking/vaping.

Local schools are absolutely delighted, having seen less violence and better attendances, and the physical and mental health benefits of Rhys’s programme are being spoken about widely around Inverclyde.


Ian Duncan

Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero Award
Nominated by Braids Rotary Club, Edinburgh

Despite Cerebral Palsy (CP) affecting in the main his mobility, co-ordination and balance, 12-year-old Ian Duncan has always been determined to not be held back and give everything a go.

In 2019 Ian, whilst having a medical procedure, was introduced to Frame Running, a form of adaptive running which supports athletes’ bodies by a ‘trike’, allowing them to experience the sensation of free movement. In addition to helping support his Frame Running club grow, Ian took part in a study at Queen Margaret University looking into the health and wellbeing benefits of frame running.

Ian recently took the decision to leave the club to help create and set up a club in Edinburgh so more boys and girls could have access to the frames. Ian now consistently advocates for the club and the sport at a variety of different events, recently working with coaches at Corstorphine Athletics Club in Edinburgh.