The Pride of Somerset !


Nominated for their inspirational efforts, accomplishments, unwavering determination and selfless actions the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards evening celebrated young people across Somerset.

Hosted by Simon Parkin from the BBC, guests heard heart-warming stories about Somerset’s youngsters who range in age from 8 to 18. In it’s 17th year, record number of entries were received, making the judges job incredibly hard. Winners were invited to a gala evening at the McMillan Theatre food being supplied by Somerset Larder.

Andy Berry, Principal and CEO of Bridgwater & Taunton College who sponsored the event said “What a wonderful evening, young people from across the County go above and beyond, often in the face of adversity, achieving amazing things. This is a great opportunity to reflect on and recognise their achievements. I was blown away and really touched to hear about their accomplishments.”

Care Award | Sponsored by the Somerset County Gazette

The Care Award is a heartfelt recognition of the selflessness, compassion, and profound impact that young caregivers have on the lives of their family members, neighbours, or any individuals they assist.

Winner Leah Spanswick is a young carer who not only looks after her wheelchair bound mum who needs support with daily tasks such as tube feeding and dressing but Leah also is a St Johns Ambulance cadet, supporting them with fundraising activities.

Environmental Award | Sponsored by This is Gravity

The Environmental Award is designed to honour and celebrate young individuals or groups who are dedicated to making a positive difference in the environment.

Winner Daniel Lee Barnett studies cryptozoology. Aged 14, Daniel has already made outstanding contributions to the field. His meticulous attention to detail and unwavering dedication to the study have earned him respect and admiration from his fellow cryptozoologists across the world. He has a successful Podcast, has featured in the National Press, delivered classes to teenagers in Mexico and is due to be a guest speaker at a Florida Conference this summer delivering a talk to over 5000 scientists and researchers.

Charity / Volunteer Hero | Sponsored by Young Somerset

This award is designed to honour and celebrate the individuals or groups who have dedicated their time, effort, and heart to helping others.

Winners Archie and Jack tragically lost their dad in a car accident just before Christmas in 2022. To honour their dad, and raise vital funds for Josephine’s Star, a local charity that supports bereaved children and families. they took part in the 3 peaks challenge raising over £7000 for the charity.

Community Hero | Sponsored by Bridgwater United Community Sports Trust

The Community Hero Award is dedicated to recognising and celebrating individuals or groups who have had substantial impact on their communities.

Winner Josh Harvey has taken on countless roles both inside and outside of college. Josh is a volunteer coach to an under 7s football team, Vice-Chairman of the Burnham Town Board, a member of the Burnham Bus-Users group, an East Huntspill Parish Councillor, and active member of the College’s Student Union! If this isn’t enough, Josh has completed charity runs and fundraising activities for various charities and is planning more of this in the future.

Outstanding Courage Award | Sponsored by Somerset Larder

The Outstanding Courage Award recognises people who have demonstrated courage and bravery, significantly impacting the life or lives of others.

Since birth, 9 year old winner, Theo Trevor Eades, has undergone 14 surgeries to rectify numerous health issues. He had adverse reactions to anaesthetics and needed help to respond to recovery, his difficulties have left him with bilateral hearing loss. Theo’s been unable to attend school but never fails to smile, even when waiting for theatre and when he wakes in pain he bounces through it. Theo has learnt to accept his life is about hearing aids, hospital appointments, surgeries, antibiotics, and hours spent at home away from his friends. He has been mature above his years, adapting to home schooling whilst waiting for a transfer to a new school. Theo continues to show incredible resilience, his bravery and mature outlook is outstanding.

Championing Positive Mental Health Award | Sponsored by Bounce Forward

The Championing Positive Mental Health Award is awarded to those actively engaged in promoting mental well-being. Judges could not pick one winner in this category and the award was given to Freya Gudge and Sienna Kayes.

Freya sadly lost her Dad to suicide in November 2022. Freya and her brother Fin decided to do something positive to remember their dad and help others, running 30 half marathons in 30 days. Freya wanted to help ensure that no one else would have to go through what her and her family were going through. The siblings raised nearly £3,000 for the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

Sienna founded the “Finding Peace Foundation”, a community for those facing mental health struggles. Sienna and fellow advocates visit schools and hospitals to share their experiences, aiming to reduce the stigma and helping others by becoming the bridge between students and teachers. Sienna then works with school management teams to improve support and resources. Recently, they donated 35 “worry boxes” to Kingsmead School, Sienna aims to reach 100 schools in Somerset within the next 5 years.

Art & Culture Award | Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Taunton

This award is designed to spotlight and celebrate t contributions and accomplishments individuals within Arts or cultural activities.

Winner Ernie Shorten is an extremely talented, largely self-taught, non-typical dancer. He has been a member of Stacked Wonkey, a nationally renowned arts organisation based in Porlock, since he was just 8.

Ernie co-designed his first work called “4 minutes” which toured the South West and went on to receive critical acclaim at the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival.

This year, Ernie joined the National Youth Dance Company, 1 of 25 selected from the UK, and the first dancer from Somerset to join in a decade. He also shows kindness and encouragement to younger performers and puts in an unprecedented amount of work and determination to develop further.

Sporting Achievement Award | Sponsored by Passion of Somerset

The Sporting Achievement Award is designed to recognise and celebrate the exceptional talent, dedication, and success of young individuals or teams in the realm of sports.

Winner, trampolinist Theo, represents Bridgwater & Taunton College, and is actively involved with British Gymnastics and England Gymnastics. His dedication to training and his commitment to continuous improvement benefits his own performance and inspires his peers to strive for excellence. Acting as a mentor and motivator he has significantly contributed to the development of his fellow athletes.

Theo volunteers in the community, coaching at Quayside Trampoline Club in Bridgwater, or in local primary and secondary schools. Through coaching, Theo has grown the sport and inspired others to discover their potential.

Young Person of Year Award | Sponsored by Bridgwater & Taunton College

Winner Ellie Bealing is a proactive member of her school, King Arthurs School in Wincanton. Ellie is on the School Council, Head of School and represents the school and Somerset as an elected member of the Youth Parliament. As a member of the British Youth Council and has campaigned for a voice for young people in Somerset. This has culminated in her speaking at the House of Commons this year, highlighting the disparity of experience between young people in Somerset vs other, less rural areas, connected to available opportunities and transport links.

Sandy Padgett Award | Sponsored by Avon & Somerset Police

The Sandy Padgett Award celebrates a young person or group of young people who have truly gone above and beyond, and whose achievements have really stood out to our judges.

Winners ZP4 (Fred Bale, Lewis Townsend, Ollie Chorley, Sawyer Hansford, Josh Hatt, Charlie Barden, Alfie Bale & Alex Peek)

Alex’s brother Zach unexpectedly passed away in 2022. Zach was a remarkable young man, whose passion for life and love for football and cricket touched everyone he met. His enthusiasm for life was contagious and he was a joy to be around. His passing deeply affected the entire community, especially those close to him.

In honour of his best friend, Fred Bale was inspired to raise funds for a bench at Bridgwater Cricket Club. With friends, Fred aimed to raise approximately £1,000 through fundraising, exceeding all expectations he raised £37,000. In awe of Fred’s efforts, the fundraising continued.

In February of 2024, Zach’s brother, teammates and friends set out on a poignant journey naming themselves the ZP4 Tour. They aimed to visit all 20 Premier League stadiums plus Wembley within 60 hours—a dream Zach once had and a perfect way to honour him. ZP4 started in Bridgwater and concluded at Ashton Gate, home of Bristol City. Covering 1,073 miles in 58 hours and 57 minutes, they completed the challenge and raised another £9,000!

All the funds raised will be allocated to a memorial fund in Zach's honour, aiming to construct an astro pitch where his brother, friends, and the community can gather and enjoy.

Somerset Country Lane