A night to celebrate the hard work young people do in the community

Chris Fox came third at the YOPEY awards'Luton News Holly Patel April 2014 PNL-140414-113946001
Chris Fox came third at the YOPEY awards'Luton News Holly Patel April 2014 PNL-140414-113946001

Luton had four finalists at Bedfordshire’s Young People of the Year (YOPEY) awards at the university of Bedfordshire on Thursday.

Chris Fox, Hifzur Rahman, Phoebe Heins and the Houghton Regis Youth Hub reached the final 12.

Autistic Chris Fox, 22, helps runs disabled football; he has volunteered over 500 hours of his time to youth clubs and has achieved his FA level one coaching award for disabled people.

He came third, winning £200, £100 will go to his chosen charity, he said: “I had a great night, it feels really good to win.

“I am honoured to have come third.

“I like giving back to people, I enjoy coaching and helping others.”

Tony Gearing, founder of YOPEY, said: “There are fabulous young people in Luton and tonight highlights that, they should all be proud of what they have achieved.

“It’s great to recognise what the young people do in the community and reward it with positive coverage.”

All the finalists received £50 for their charity or organisation.

Ms Heins, 15, inherited her mum’s fundraising army and raises thousands to fight cancer, she said: “I’m honoured to have been nominated for a YOPEY, I enjoy the fundraising and it really helped me to grieve for my mum.”

Houghton Regis youth hub was nominated for stopping anti-social behavior and helping the community.

Mr Rahman, 18, set up a tutoring service and helps fundraise for good causes.

Mr Gearing said: “It was a very good night, it was a strong final 12, they are all winners.”

Volunteers from Luton Sixth form college presented the ceremony, helped organise the night and worked on reception.

The finalists were judged by a cross-section of the community, from MPs and mayors to previous YOPEY finalists.

The awards were presented by councillor David Bowater of Bedfordshire, chief fire officer Paul Fuller, managing director of Atlas Alan Johnson and the lord-lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis.

Mr Gearing added: “I would like to thank our sponsors, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue, central Bedfordshire council, Atlas Converting, Carlisle Managed Solutions, William Jackson Food Group and Movianto UK.”

To read more about YOPEY visit www.yopey.org