Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London to Honour Its Finest Youth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London to Honour Its Finest Youth

Article excerpt


FROM the bright to the brave, 27 of London's most dedicated and publicspirited young people are today waiting to hear who will be named Young Londoner of the Year 2001.

Each nominee has been put forward by their borough as an example of the kind of spirit many city dwellers might consider a thing of the past - a spirit these youngsters prove is still alive and well.

While their stories are widely different, they are equally impressive.

Among the more dramatic of the tales which will be told at tonight's award ceremony at the Geffrye Museum in Hackney, is that of 15-yearold Martin Burke.

Martin, a student at Sacred Heart RC School in Camberwell, suffers from the bone disorder perthes disease. He has been nominated for the "amazing spirit" he displayed in two separate acts of bravery.

In the first he saved an old woman who was about to be mugged, and in the second he risked his own life to save a toddler in the path of a speeding car.

Martin said: "With the first, I was walking through the park with my dog when I saw a guy with his hood up, obviously trying to hide his face.

"I thought he looked suspicious so I followed him for a bit and then I saw him corner this old lady in a stairwell. I don't know if he had a knife or anything but as I got nearer I saw him pin her to the wall and put his hand in his pocket. I just started shouting at the guy to leave her alone and then my dog started barking at him, so he got scared and ran off.

"Then some time later I was walking home from school one night and I saw a toddler slip away from his grandmother.

The child ran straight into the road and I saw a car coming so I dashed after him.

"As I bent to pick him up, my hip and leg seized up because of my bone disorder, so I was stuck there and couldn't move.

Luckily the driver saw me huddled over the toddler and slammed his brakes on just in time."

Martin said he will give the [pound]1,500 prize money to the Perthes Association if he wins tonight's award, which is sponsored by London Electricity. …

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