BBC Radio 1’s Teen Heroes of 2019 were invited to visit the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace earlier this month along with chart-topping superstar Camila Cabello and BBC Radio 1 DJs Clara Amfo and Greg James.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Radio 1’s Teen Heroes have been honoured with an invitation to the Palace. The ten finalists were greeted by Their Royal Highnesses who praised them for their inspirational work and their dedication to helping others.
The three winners, who will be presented with their Teen Hero Award at Radio 1's Teen Awards on Sunday 24 November, are Hazel, Rachel and Scarlett.
12-year-old Hazel lives with a rare genetic disorder called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) which limits the body’s ability to repair damage caused by UV light. After being diagnosed at age 3 Hazel was advised by doctors to stay indoors indefinitely, but she has since learnt how to manage the condition safely in her daily life with support from charities and specialist clinics. Hazel has raised awareness of XP by making a film and giving talks to schools in her local area, and has raised £2000 for the charity that supported her by climbing the 900m high Ben Lomond mountain earlier this year in her protective clothing.
Rachel, aged 17, campaigns for change and better futures for young people in the UK. She is a volunteer for her local youth council and a member of the UK Youth Parliament, and has won a Diana Award for her work towards tackling cyber bullying. Rachel is also chair of the UK Youth Select Committee, which this year has been focussed on knife crime.
14 year-old Scarlett is a young carer to her mother, older sister and grandmother. Both Scarlett and her mum have an incurable nerve condition called HNPP, which can make everyday activities like carrying shopping bags extremely painful. As well as helping her mum, Scarlett cares for her sister, who has type 1 diabetes, and her grandmother, who has depression. A typical day for Scarlett, who also has autism, includes house chores, gardening, walking her grandmother to church and entertaining the other church goers.
Radio 1’s Teen Awards honours the UK’s unsung teenage heroes as well as the year’s best music, sport and entertainment stars. This year’s star studded event will be hosted by Radio 1 DJs Greg James, Maya Jama and Mollie King, with YUNGBLUD, AJ Tracey and Jax Jones set to perform to an exclusive audience of 14-17 year-olds.
Camila Cabello says: “I was so honoured to be invited to Kensington Palace to meet and celebrate this year’s Teen Hero finalists with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Hearing the incredible things these Teen Heroes have done is so inspirational! Their passion and dedication to help others is amazing and they really blew me away!”
Clara Amfo says: “Spending time with the Teen Heroes has always been a highlight of a year at Radio 1. Their stories are unique but they're united with a bravery and sincerity that we all could aspire to. Having their endeavours acknowledged publicly and royally no less, is what they absolutely deserve.”
The other finalists for Radio 1’s Teen Heroes 2019 are:
Beth volunteers as a multi-sports coach for adults with learning disabilities, and as a tennis coach for young children. She spends around 14 hours a week coaching tennis, and has inspired over 50 junior volunteers to take part in the club’s activities. She was also voted by her peers to be president of a mental health campaign at her school, and gives regular talks aimed at promoting students’ mental wellbeing.
Jake is a DJ who uses Makaton (a language programme which uses signs and symbols to help people communicate) to make his sets inclusive for everyone. Jake started using Makaton after he saw his cousin Alice, who has Down’s syndrome, struggle to understand what the entertainers were saying during a show they watched together. He has since received a British Citizen Youth Award for being a key ambassador for Makaton, and runs workshops to demonstrate how he uses it at his events.
Josh was saved by Magpas Air Ambulance in December 2014 when he was crushed between two cars, and has since become the charity’s youngest ambassador. Despite needing 17 operations and ongoing treatment on his legs, he has worked hard to fundraise for the Air Ambulance, completing walks, raffles and even an annual fish-a-thon.
Lily supported and looked after her younger brother Hamish who passed away from cancer after undergoing two rounds of extensive treatment. Her mother has also been diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Lily has helped raise over £50,000 to give back to the charities that supported him and their family, organising fun runs, bucket collections, coffee mornings and bake sales to get the whole community involved. Lily is also fundraising to revive their local park where Hamish used to play, to give back to the community in her brother’s memory.
Liv has been campaigning for water safety in her local area after the loss of her best friend, who sadly drowned last year. She has campaigned to raise awareness about the high risk of drowning in the local area, and has been calling for better water safety measures to be put in place at all public parks and rivers. So far, she has backing from her local council to put warning signage up by these water bodies and has been invited to Westminster, so Parliament can learn about her campaign. Liv also set up her own LGBT support group at her new school after being bullied for her sexuality.
Mattie, who was born with a skeletal disorder, has worked with teachers at his school to make sport inclusive to all. He has spoken out about his condition and explored inclusion issues through talks at his school and in the media. He has also joined up to a modelling agency, aiming to empower others to build understanding and courage, and has won multiple medals at the World Dwarf Games.
While undergoing surgery and treatment in hospital after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour called a medulloblastoma, Olly found that the pre-teen ward lacked some of the facilities that the teenage ward had. He worked with hospital staff to learn how he could raise money for the ward, and now runs the Team Olly fund under his hospital’s charity. So far the fund has amassed over £88,000, with Olly running a variety of fundraising events and rallying for donations. His work has earned him the Champion Child of Courage in the 2018 Chronicle Champions Awards.