BLOG: Looking forward to meeting the Queen
I think there will only be one time in my life that I can say I will be able to meet the Queen in person and that time is now.
For me and 59 other amazing young people from across the Commonwealth we will pick up our Queens Young Leader awards from Her Majesty in just two weeks time. I can't tell you how excited I am!
After an entire week of high profile visits, events and celebrations marking the Queen's Young Leaders, we will head to a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace where we will be honoured in the presence of very special hosts.
When my dad was sent to prison two years ago I was ready to pack my bags and for my career to be ended for me. Having enjoyed considerable success fairly young, launching a micro business, pioneering the way for young entrepreneurs to get the support they needed and championing people with disabilities in my community, I felt like I could have been tarnished with that same negative brush as my dad. I decided to turn this horrible moment around and discovered how the gambling which led my dad to steal money, and ultimately jail, was an addiction. Hard campaigning and a relentless drive saw me get the attention of political leaders such as David Cameron and the NHS, who we're now working with on an awareness raising project to help GPs locally understand the condition and spot the signs. We hope to take this national and form a new not for profit to host our activity in coming weeks.
I am very grateful to be honoured as one of this year's Queens Young Leaders.
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There's so many stories out there of young people who have battled against considerable odds - racism, political unrest, poverty and life changing conditions to fight for a fairer society that they want everyone to be able to live in.
I'm so excited to be a part of this special community, to represent our Sheffield, Yorkshire and the UK's young people in saying if you really want something and really want to make a change you can do it by just being inspired to take action. Take that risk, knock on those doors, don't be afraid to stand out and draw attention to what you want to achieve and connect to get the right people on board. I've been supported by some incredible advisors, my family, friends, mentors and training programmes from College right through to now - the Queen's Young Leaders programme itself being one of them.
We're doing this for you, the parents, business leaders, politicians, and the young people of tomorrow - learn about our stories and be inspired to work with us, encourage young people and give them a voice. Young people, follow our lead and make a success of yourselves.