Young people

Rotary Young Citizens recognised at The Diana Awards

Rotary Young Citizens recognised at The Diana Awards

Two former winners of Rotary Young Citizen Awards have now had their volunteering achievements recognised at the 2020 Diana Awards.

Environmental campaigner, Emily Stevenson, and charity baker, Alana Habergham-Rice, winners of the Rotary Young Citizen Award in 2019 have another award to their names after being recognised at this year’s Diana Awards.

Emily and Alana were two of the 184 inspirational young people from across the globe presented with awards, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, at a virtual ceremony held on what would have been Princess Diana’s 59th birthday.

Much like the Rotary Young Citizen Awards the pair picked up in 2019, The Diana Award recognises young people and their ability to inspire and mobilise their own generation to service their communities through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, fighting injustice or overcoming extreme life challenges.

For Emily, preserving the natural environment has been a lifelong goal. Being lucky enough to grow up on the beach in Cornwall, Emily developed a connection to nature at an early age, and always felt a desire to protect what she loves.

For over half her life, the 22-year-old has been picking up plastics from beaches and now motivates, inspires and supports others to take care of their marine environment.

Emily attracted international media attention when she wore a dress made from discarded Walkers crisp packets to her graduation ceremony as a marine biologist.

Emily is dedicated to her cause and truly talks the talk and walks the walk.”

Since then, along with pressure brought by other campaigners, Walkers have pledged that they will make all packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.

She is now part of the Beach Guardian project, which delivers educational workshops to young people and regularly produces video content exploring different environmental and societal issues.

12-year-old Alana has been baking cakes for charity since she was six.

Three years ago, she launched Alana’s Caring Cakes, baking cakes for people in her community who are experiencing challenges.

Baking reduces Alana’s anxiety. This has become more important following her autism diagnosis as she has been able to use her community events to increase awareness and acceptance.

Starting with a small stall, Alana now leads an annual charity event which has raised over £5,000 for various causes, including directly funding treatment for her school-friend with cerebral-palsy and the Sheffield Hospital Charity.

Alana has recently become an ambassador for a local autism charity and launched a Kindness Fair, which brings together different charities and young people to celebrate positivity and raise money for local causes.

Both Emily and Alana were nominated for The Diana Award as a result of their connection to Rotary, and were joined on the virtual ceremony by a star-studded set of supporters, including Ade Adepitan, Dame Emma Thompson and more.

John Berryman, President of Lostwithiel Rotary, who nominated Emily, commented; “Emily first came to our attention at a Rotary conference in Plymouth, a truly inspirational speaker!

“Emily is dedicated to her cause and truly talks the talk and walks the walk inspiring many in our communities.”

Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive, The Diana Award, said; “We congratulate all our new Diana Award Recipients from the UK and across the world who are changemakers for their generation.

“We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens.”