2007 Spirit of Try Angle Awards   (February 2nd 2008)

"And the winner of the 2007 Spirit of Try Angle awards is……………"

So at the Winter Gardens on Sunday the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Edwin Boorman, opened the golden envelope and Record Breaking Yachtswoman Hilary Lister read out the names Lauren and Aaron Christmas.

Lauren and Aaron are two of Kent's very many young carers who, on a day by day basis, selflessly give of their own time and youth to help to look after others. While their classmates are out doing what young people do the army of young carers is making a huge sacrifice in time and energy and leisure and the extraordinary thing, to anyone outside this loop, is that they do not, themselves, believe that they are doing anything special.  I am delighted that this recognition has been given to these two young carers and that through them the efforts of many others has also achieved some public notice.

As the Chairman of the Try Angle Awards Foundation I was fortunate enough to have been in at the beginning of a scheme founded, under the auspices of Kent County Council, by Jan Askew and Bill Butler.  The first awards ceremony for what was then the Thanet Try Angle, was held in the lecture theatre at Pfizer and was attended by a relative handful of Thanet schoolchildren at lunchtime during a break from classes.  That was in 1995.

Try Angle now covers the whole of the County of Kent and is reaching out to become nationwide and since the beginning literally thousands of nominations for recognition of achievement in arts and music, personal development, service to the community, citizenship and the environment, young carers, bravery and sports have been received and assessed . It is a source of pride and wonder that each year more nominations are made in each of the Try Angle areas across Kent and Medway and that each year the standard and quality of those nominations rises and is harder to adjudicate.

Try Angle, which is a registered charity, has enjoyed the sponsorship of Kent County Council and Kent police force and of the local authorities and many most generous commercial businesses across the County.  We have also received the backing of the Kent Messenger Group of newspapers and, most particularly, of BBC Radio Kent and their presenter, Jo Burn, who has given hundreds of hours of her time to interview nominees and their friends and parents, write scripts and present the awards ceremonies.

Spirit of Try Angle, which is the "County Final" brings together some of the finest of the finest. Joining the 22 young finalists this year was our Guest of Honour, Hilary Lister.  Hilary, herself quadriplegic, attended the presentation in her wheelchair and in addition to announcing the winners also screened film of her solo sail crossing of the Channel and of her planned circumnavigation, again solo, of the British h Isles which is due to start in June.

"If she can do it, you can"! I think is the message.  The 2007 finals were held this month to allow us to launch, at the same time, the nomination forms for the 2008 heats that will be held from early summer onwards.

"Look at a problem from every angle" runs the theme. "if you cannot solve it go back and look again from the Try Angle". This is your chance to tell us about a young person who in the view of a school or a youth organisation or friends or family is a special achiever. The forms are in circulation and you can find us at www.tryangleawards.co.uk. Get writing please!

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