Young people declared county’s top achievers

Achievement in Management and Enterprise, presented to Emily and Laura-Jane Keston by Caroline Murphy on behalf of the Wetherby Whaler
Achievement in Management and Enterprise, presented to Emily and Laura-Jane Keston by Caroline Murphy on behalf of the Wetherby Whaler

And Yorkshire’s Olympic and Paralympic medallists were named as joint Personalities of the Year in honour of their impressive performances in Rio, with four attending to receive their awards in person.

Personality of the Year, presented to Yorkshires Olympian and Paralympian medallists by Peter Banks of Rudding Park

Personality of the Year, presented to Yorkshires Olympian and Paralympian medallists by Peter Banks of Rudding Park

The Chairman of the Awards, Peter McCormick OBE, said: “These young people, from the Olympians to our Unsung Hero, typify the best in Yorkshire and we heard some terrific stories of dedication and grit during the evening.

“These Awards are also our main fundraiser of the year and none of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors and our guests on the night.”

The 24th Awards, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors of Harrogate, mark the achievements of young people in eight categories, from the arts to sport, and are organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation which has now raised nearly £1.2m to support young people in the county.

Among those honoured twins Emily and Laura-Jane Keston of Harrogate, who won the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award; and Harrogate college student Berenice Gilmour of Wetherby, who took the Achievement in Education title.

Achievement in Management and Enterprise, sponsored by The Wetherby Whaler Group

Emily and L-J Keston, grew up in Harrogate, one of them gaining a degree in journalism while the other achieved the same in law.

But their interest in the performing arts has led them along a different path together. As actresses, both have performed professionally, having started their careers in the original West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Their television and film credits include appearing as the infamous Jenny and Rosie Dolly in ITV’s Mr Selfridge series, The Safe House, and Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason.

More recently, they became Executive Directors and Producers of their own business, Stagebox, to provide high calibre training in musical theatre for young people aged from seven to 18.

Originally launched in Harrogate, Stagebox is now in Leeds and Manchester and has just opened a London base. The business brings new opportunities to young performers in the Yorkshire region and currently has two youngsters going to Dubai to appear in Les Miserables and two more embarking on an international tour of Mary Poppins.

Harrogate College student Berenice Gilmour took the Achievement in Education title.

Berenice is currently in her third year of a fashion degree at Harrogate College and was this year crowned Best Student Designer by Bridal Buyer with her stunning dress based on a birds of paradise brief.

But her talent was stumbled on when the mum and trained dancer made her eldest daughter’s dance outfit to save money.

Family and friends were impressed and more commissions followed and Berenice is currently on internship for Leeds bridal designer Anita Massarella.

The Personality of the Year went to Rio 2016 medallists, sighted pilot Adam Duggleby and his cycling partner Steve Bate, cyclist Katy Marchant and gymnast Nile Wilson.