Byline: Gareth Lightfoot
Singers, actors, lifesavers, librarians, Girl Guides, volunteers, positive thinkers and hard workers were rewarded in an awards ceremony for outstanding young people.
The SMART - Stockton Mayor's Achievement Recognition Trophy - awards were presented to the ten winners on Tuesday at a glittering ceremony at Arc in Stockton.
Kirri Raper, 16, of Davenport Road, Yarm, received the Evening Gazette-sponsored Volunteering in the Community Award from deputy editor Alan Sims.
Kirri has vigorously pursued her Young Leader role in the Girl Guides despite regular hospital visits for the chronic fatigue condition ME.
Alan said: "It's wonderful to be able to recognise all the young people here tonight.
"Youngsters often get a bad press and something like this reminds us that there are many young people out there willing to go the extra mile for their friends, families and the wider communities."
Kirri said after the ceremony: "I'm amazed. I was surprised even to get a certificate, let alone the award."
Stockton Mayor Councillor Ann Cains presented a Special Needs award to 13-year-old Michael Benson for his involvement in activities like drama and sports.
The teenager from Hillside Road, Norton has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic muscle weakening condition.
He said: "It's brilliant. I didn't expect it."
His mum Ruth, 49, said: "I'm over the moon, absolutely delighted and so proud. Nothing ever seems to faze him, he has a go at everything."
Cal Burns, 14, of Swale Avenue, Thornaby won the Education Effort award for juggling studies with work at the theatre and the Stockton senior singers. …