Ben and Oliver real whizz kids

You get to meet many fascinating and inspirational people in my job.

Many of those people have suffered some degree of hardship and what is remarkable about them is that they have not allowed any hardship or disability to stop them from achieving what they wish to achieve.

One of the best examples I have seen of this spirit has been through the local branch of Whizz-Kidz, the national charity that supports young, disabled people by helping them receive appropriate and personalised wheelchairs, as well as enhancing campaigning and leadership skills.

I first met the Hartlepool branch of Whizz-Kidz about two years ago.

They hold regular events like wheelchair football at the Headland Sports Centre, which is where I met them.

I was very interested to hear the concerns of young people like Ben Harland and Oliver Parkinson, who are both 12 years old.

Their concerns about people parking in spaces specifically designated as for holders of a blue badge, as well as the prospects for wheelchair users going to university prompted me to ask a series of Parliamentary Questions on their behalf.

They have taken campaigning to a new level, to the point where I think I could learn a thing or two from them.

I’m really pleased that last week at the House of Commons, as part of Whizz-Kidz’ Celebrating Achievement Awards, Ben, Oliver and Hartlepool in general won the campaign of the year.

The event at the House of Commons was hosted by Hollyoaks actors Nick Pickard and Jimmy McKenna, whom I had heard of, and beatboxer Killa Kela, whom I had not heard of but who seemed to excite the young people a lot, especially as he was the first beatboxer apparently to perform in Parliament.

He made me feel very old to be honest.

Hartlepool won the campaign award of the year specifically for their work on the size of public accessible toilets, entitled Too Tiny To Tinkle, as well as people parking in spaces designated for disabled people.

They carried out a survey of parking habits as well as revealing that many public toilets were too small to turn a wheelchair as well as not having handles on the walls for disabled use.

On collecting the award, Ben and Oliver made speeches, which is hard to do and intimidating in Parliament, but they pulled it off with style and humour.

It was great to see Hartlepool do so well and its young people be painted in a positive light.