Teenager who helps scouts and church is nominated for young people’s award

Emilia De Luca, from Shefford, nominated for YOPEY 2015.
Emilia De Luca, from Shefford, nominated for YOPEY 2015.

A teenager who has helped local scouts and her church is has been nominated for the ‘Oscars’ for young people.

Emilia de Luca, from Shefford, has been put forward for Atlas Young People of the Year awards or YOPEYs, for young people who give to others.

Emilia, 16, of Eisenhower Road, was put forward by Tina Mentor, who runs the 1st Shefford Red Tornadoes cub scouts, who meet in the scout hut on the High Street every Wednesday. Emilia’s mum, Morag, is the assistant cub scout leader.

Emilia is now an explorer - she was originally a brownie in the guides but switched because she preferred more outdoor activities.

In July she will go to Japan for a jamboree with scouts from across the world.

She beat the target of raising £3,400 for the trip, collecting more than £4,000 by last Christmas so that she could concentrate on her GCSEs at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford. The surplus has gone towards extra equipment for the trip.

Tina said: “The amount of work she has put in to raise the money has been amazing.”

Emilia made and sold craft items, did bag-packing and organised a sponsored silence with Tina’s cubs which raised £130.

Tina added: “To get 15 lively and usually noisy 8-10-year-olds totally quiet for two hours was brilliant.”

Emilia said: “The cubs were really good. Because they knew me they were quite prepared to go along with it.”

Emilia told the youngsters why she needed the money, explaining about Japan and took along Japanese food for the cubs to try.

Tina added: “The cubs love her and she is a great example to other young people.”

Away from the Scouting movement, Emilia helps run the Sunday School at St Mary’s, Meppershall. For the last five years she has helped at the church’s four-day holiday camp for 70 local children, running activities including drama and leading worship singing.

The YOPEY competition has £2,000 in prizes to give to positive role models and good causes.

There is a top prize of £800 to be won by a young person or group who go out of their way to help others. The young person or group keeps £400 and invests the other £400 in a good cause of their choice. Runner-up will win £400, third and junior winners £200 each, all similarly shared.

YOPEY founder Tony Gearing said: “We salute Emilia for being a positive role model to youngsters in the Scouts and at church.”

As well as Atlas Converting Equipment, which manufactures wrapping equipment for various industries, this year’s Beds YOPEY is sponsored by Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Central Bedfordshire Council, and recruitment company Guidant Group.

The YOPEY charity has also received grants or donations from Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Bedfordshire Police Partnership, Aldwyck Housing and others.

Do you know somebody who deserves the title Young Person of the Year? To nominate, visit yopey.org or write, enclosing a stamped-addressed-envelope, to YOPEY, Woodfarm Cottage, Bury Road, Stradishall, Newmarket CB8 8YN, for a paper entry form. Entrants must be aged 10-25 and people can nominate themselves. Entries close on July 31.