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Young Barrow role model’s generosity honoured with a British Citizen Youth Award

Amelia Butterfield, Nicky Cox and Ashley Banjo

[A] SELFLESS youngster whose dad’s long-term illness inspired her to raise thousands of pounds for good causes has been named as a medallist in this year’s British Citizen Youth Award.

Amelia Butterfield, 11, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, is one of 24 children from across the UK who have been recognised by the BCyA for their extraordinary contribution to society, charities and good causes.

Now in its second year, the BCyA, in association with Specsavers, seeks to highlight the many acts of bravery, kindness and compassion carried out by young people across the UK.

Amelia was honoured for her incredible efforts at a formal presentation held at the Palace of Westminster on Thursday 19th October.

Incredible generosity

Two years ago, Amelia decided to organise a fundraising event for a cancer charity in honour of her father, Ben, who was going through his own battle with the illness.

With the support of three friends, she set up a small business called Cute As Buttons at her school, Victoria Academy in Barrow-in-Furness.

The business sold items such as homemade jewellery, stationery and ice pops to pupils during break time, with all money raised donated to charity. Following talks with their head teacher, the school also agreed to match any money raised by Amelia and her friends.

Amelia had kept the business secret from her dad and, in July 2016, she presented him with a cheque for £250 – the total raised by Cute As Buttons at the time. They decided to split the donation between Macmillan Cancer Support and St Mary’s Hospice.

Sadly, Ben passed away a month later. Amelia has been bravely supporting her mum, Caroline, and her three sisters while continuing to raise vital funds for good causes. Cute As Buttons has now raised a total of £485 to date, which will be doubled thanks to donations from the school.

In further acts of generosity, Amelia has supported the school in organising Comic Relief activities – raising £1,000 in the process – while also helping to set up a day of activities to raise more than £2,000 for a pupil suffering with several brain tumours.

She has also been selected as an inspirational speaker for the Furness Future Leaders’ Academy – a summer school for aspirational children – and is an ambassador for Step Up to Serve, a UK-wide campaign encouraging youngsters to take social action.

Caroline Butterfield adds: “We’re extremely proud of Amelia – she is inspirational, selfless and goes out of her way to help others. We couldn’t believe it when we were told she had been nominated for a medal and she’s now looking forward to going to London.”

Caroline Vernon, head teacher at Victoria Academy, nominated Amelia for the BCyA. She says: “Amelia is amazing and has shown great inner strength with the circumstances she has faced over the last few years. She is an inspiration to others and thoroughly deserves to receive a medal from the British Citizen Youth Award.”

Deserved medallist

Amelia received her BCyA medal from Ashley Banjo, creative director and lead dancer of Diversity, whose dance troupe won the third series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Ashley says: ‘I am honoured to be able to play a part of the British Citizen Youth Awards in October at the Palace of Westminster.  What a fantastic way to recognise these young people that have made a difference to their communities up and down the UK.  These inspirational young people are making a difference and encouraging other young people to do the same.’

Simon LeFever, store director of Specsavers Barrow-in-Furness, says: “As a partner of the BCyA, it is always uplifting to hear about the amazing and selfless acts performed by youngsters both within our community and across the UK.

“Whether it be raising money for charity or helping those in need, we want to grow awareness of these achievements and inspire the next generation of children to make a similar positive impact on society.”

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