THESE youngsters deserve all the credit they get.
Standing proud at a recent awards night, they dedicate all of their efforts to others.
They are all full-time carers at home and the recent Hartlepool Young Carers end of year awards evening is one of the only occasions they will get in the calendar year to let their hair down.
The event was organised and funded by the young carers themselves.
As featured in the Mail over the past months, they have taken part in a number of quirky fundraising activities to ensure their end of year bash could go ahead.
Group leader, Steve Plant, paid tribute to the “fantastic” work of the youngsters, who put all of their efforts into the wellbeing of a parent, guardian or close relative.
He said: “These youngsters are incredible people, they are mature and responsible beyond their years.
“It’s an absolutely pleasure to get the opportunity to work alongside them.”
As part of the end of year event, a number of awards were handed out to youngsters for their stand-out efforts.
But as Steve pointed out, every single one of the youngsters deserves an award.
Ely McTighe-King, 12, was announced as the Carer of the Year. The hard working youngster dedicates her life to caring for her mum, Donna.
Her story is featured on today’s page three.
Owen Baker was handed the award for being the most committed fundraiser. The 10-year-old has completed the junior Great North Run for the past two years – raising more than £500 for the cause.
It is donations and efforts like this one which keeps the Young Carers in operation.
“Owen is a superstar,” said Steve.
“I hope he realises just how much of a difference his efforts make to the Young Carers.”
Simon Hansen, 14, has only been involved with the Young Carers since September but has already had a big impact.
His work was recognised as he was awarded the Most Committed New Carer.
Steve said: “Despite only being with us for a few months, Simon has already been involved with all of our projects.
“He has jumped straight in at the deep end and helped us with our fundraising.”
Gemma Dougherty, 17, (pictured above, left) was battling against the elements ahead of her GCSE exams this summer. Shortly before the exams got under way she was rocked by a bereavement in the family.
But it didn’t prevent her from achieving a staggering 11 A*s. Her excellent achievement was recognised on the night as she was given the Academic Achievement award.
“To get 11 A*s is an unbelievable achievement and to bare in mind what she had been through, it’s incredible,” said Steve.
“She should be extremely proud.”
Ashleigh Patten, 17, was also rewarded for her commitment to the cause.
Steve said: “Ashleigh is one of our key members, she has a say in everything and has a real impact on the group.”
SEE MONDAY’S MAIL FOR MORE PICTURES FROM THE AWARDS