YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE CHANGING THE WORLD IN MEMORY OF PRINCESS DIANA INVITED TO PRINCE HARRY AND MS. MEGHAN MARKLE’S WEDDING CELEBRATIONS

Seven inspirational young people from London, Birmingham, Bedford and Canada invited to be part of the public gallery in the grounds of Windsor for Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding on 19 May 2018.

Young people range from; mentees who have been transformed through The Diana Award mentoring programme, teen campaigners against knife crime, FGM and domestic violence campaigners in London, an Anti-Bullying Ambassador who has spoken out about his experience of homophobic bullying and a fifteen year old girl from Canada who has handmade thousands of blankets for people receiving cancer treatments and veterans living with PTSD

Today (10 April 2018): The Diana Award is delighted to announce details of seven exceptional young people have been chosen to attend the wedding celebrations of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018 at Windsor Castle.

The young people form part of a group of 200 invitees who have been nominated on the strength of their contribution to charities with a close connection to Prince Harry or Ms. Markle. They will also be joined by Diana Hosford, Vice President of TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) in the USA – a partner organisation of The Diana Award.

The Diana Award was set up in memory of The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better.

The Diana Award fosters, develops and inspires positive change in the lives of young people through three key programmes which include; a mentoring programme for young people at risk, a youth-led anti-bullying ambassadors campaign and a prestigious award which publicly recognises young people – The Diana Award.

 

Prince Harry has visited a Diana Award mentoring training event and in 2017 he attended the charity’s Inaugural Legacy Award Ceremony at St. James’ Palace where he presented 20 Legacy Awards to young people from around the world alongside The Duke of Cambridge. One of the Legacy Award winners, Faith Dickinson from Canada, has been chosen as the young people to attend the wedding celebrations.

Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award says:

“These young people are absolutely thrilled to be invited to the wedding celebrations of Prince Harry and Ms. Markle. This gesture of kindness is one of the key values that we celebrate as part of Diana’s Legacy and to see this demonstrated throughout the wedding preparation, is incredibly heartwarming. Prince Harry is a firm supporter of our work – particularly our mentoring programme which plays a key role in the social mobility of hard to reach young people. We have worked closely with both HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry and we believe Ms. Markle will be a welcome role model for young people.”

The following seven young people have been chosen to represent The Diana Award at the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018. All these young people have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to The Diana Award and have passionately engaged with our programmes.

Faith Dickinson, Canada
Diana Award Holder and Legacy Award Winner

Age: 15

At just nine years old, Faith launched the charity Cuddles for Cancer after her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment, Faith’s aunt told her how she got very cold, so Faith made her a fleece blanket to provide comfort, warmth and love. To date Faith has made over 3000 blankets, which have been sent across Canada, the United States, UK, Germany, Brazil, Australia, France and Africa. She has raised over $30,000 to ensure that the blankets remain free to those who need them the most. She believes that everyone ‘deserves a cuddle’ and personalises each blanket based on the recipient’s hobbies or favourite colour. Most recently, her blankets have served soldiers returning home injured or suffering from PTSD. Faith is also an active member of her community as a volunteer and her ‘cuddle club’ talks have reached thousands of young people. Faith is a Diana Award Holder and Legacy Award winner.

Maryam Chowdury, London
Diana Award Holder
Age: 19

Maryam was awarded a Diana Award in 2016 for her outstanding voluntary work. While volunteering for the Al-Isharah deaf charity she learnt sign language to better understand the challenges deaf people faced. She has raised £3,000 for orphans living in Africa, campaigned for women against issues including FGM and domestic violence, and takes part in a variety of charity events. Maryam has also volunteered for her local MP, for a community organisation creating links within Tower Hamlets, and appears regularly on a youth TV show. Since receiving her award Maryam has hosted a Diana Award ceremony and spoke out in Parliament on anti-bullying and cyber safety. She is an advocate on youth empowerment and works alongside Restless Development, volunteering with them for 3 months in Zambia. Maryam is currently focussing on mental health within youth and creating a platform for young people to speak out.

Ryan Hicks, London
Diana Award Mentee
Age: 15

Ryan completed The Diana Award Mentoring Programme in July 2017. “Our project was on knife crime and this is something we were really passionate about. Living in East London we often hear about knife stabbings. As a group we really wanted to do something about it. We thought it was really important for us to educate people here in our school about the issue. I enjoyed the mentoring sessions, I got to work in a group and get my views across. I also got to attend a Mentor campaign day. This was really interesting as I got speak to lots of people at London Bridge Station. I talked about the mentoring programme and why I got involved.” Recently Ryan spoke to his peers about the mentoring programme and his teachers and mentors from KPMG were very impressed. Ryan said “Overall taking part in the Diana Award mentoring programme has been a real experience and I am really happy that I got to take part. I would like to get involved in the mentoring programme again and support in any way I can.”

Shomara Fuller, Birmingham
Diana Award Mentee
Age: 15

Shomara took part in The Diana Award Mentoring Programme from September 2017- March 2018. As part of the fortnightly sessions, Shomara and her group planned and delivered a very successful social action project tackling racism and mental health. The aim of the project was to fundraise for a charity and for people to be educated about racism and mental health. Shomara was invited by The Diana Award to speak at a Birmingham Business Breakfast event in February at the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. “Before the programme I was really quiet and I wouldn’t have been able to speak in front of important business people. Also, the mentoring sessions have really helped with my organisation skills. I have learnt to plan an event from the design to the logistics”. “I am really proud of the skills I have developed and for being able to plan a big event independently. I have gained communication skills, become more confident, resilient and be able to work under pressure”.

Komal Kaur, Birmingham
Diana Award Mentee
Age: 14

Komal has recently completed The Diana Award’s Mentoring Programme where she was supported by Mentors from RSm and OFWAT over a course of 6 months. Komal was recently invited by The Diana Award to speak at an event to business leaders across Birmingham, she felt very nervous about the prospect. Komal is passionate about mental health and the link it has to discrimination. “Through the programme, we worked with our mentors to develop a celebration day to encourage people to feel proud of their nationality and have the chance to speak to a mental health charity. We understand there is a link between discrimination and mental health so we’re keen to raise awareness of this”. When Komal is older she wants to be a GP. Through the programme she has developed skills which have help her with her aspirations. Kamal has recently dropped off her CV, which she created with her mentors, to her local GP surgery and is waiting to hear whether she has a work experience placement for the Summer. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for her!

Tom Broughton, Bedford
Diana Award Holder and Anti-Bullying Ambassador
Age: 20

Tom is a Diana Award Holder and Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador who has bravely spoken out about his experiences of homophobic bullying and has became a powerful ambassador for other young people. He has represented The Diana Award at various national events. “I’ve been bullied for the majority of my life. It was homophobic bullying for being different because I’m gay. I didn’t feel worthy and it was painful for me – it made me feel like I shouldn’t really be living. They actually told me to die. I would go home and cry and wish I could fall asleep and not wake up. It stopped quickly when I moved to a new school.”

Elsa Arnold, London
Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador
Age: 16

Elsa is a Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador and has volunteered with The Diana Award on multiple occasions. She has just joined the 2018-2019 Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador Youth Board representing the voices of Ant-Bullying Ambassadors across the UK. She’s been active and passionate campaigner on social media against bullying and to reduce stigma around mental health (she’s been open about her own struggles) and given up her time to help at The Diana Award office on various occasions. She uses Instagram to shares inspirational messages about mental health and bullying.

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