Saluting Emma, Aleesha and the many other inspirational young people

The historic achievement of Emma Raducanu in winning the US Open having come through qualifying and without losing a single set has rightly been headline news in the last few days. She is one of Britain’s brightest sporting prospects for a generation and surely has a golden future ahead of her. Those involved in UK tennis will be hoping that Emma’s amazing feat will inspire thousands of children to pick up a racquet, perhaps for the very first time. It isn’t just awesome raw talent either. Emma is by all accounts dedicated and hardworking, and she also seems extraordinarily mentally balanced for her age. This isn’t the place to discuss the challenges that UK sport and other sectors face in seeking out and nurturing new talent. Suffice it to say that the family of a child following a similar pathway to Emma will incur costs running comfortably into the thousands. We can certainly salute Emma and all the other young people — many of whom don’t get the recognition they deserve — whose astonishing achievements serve as an example and an inspiration for us all, whatever stage of life we are at.

Here are just two more who popped up in the media recently.

Aleesha [pictured above], who is six years old, took part in a challenge over the summer to raise money for the deforestation charity Cool Earth. She rode her scooter 80km to help save the world’s rainforests, receiving support from Sir David Attenborough, the prime minister and the Queen, after she wrote to them explaining her challenge.

According to a local news website, she first became inspired to help the planet whilst taking part in a school project. She learned about trees being chopped down and animals losing their homes.

Her JustGiving page says:

I would like to do my part and try and save the rainforests. All the money raised will go towards making this a greener planet. I am raising as much awareness about climate change and the rainforests by writing to as many influential people as possible.

from Aleesha’s JustGiving page

According to the same page she has now raised £3,372.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Harry Burr is the driving force behind a £20m scheme to build a railway station at Daventry in Northamptonshire.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the local MP, is full of praise for Harry’s work:

Harry took me through what he had done so far on his idea for a Daventry Parkway Station and we discussed the various stages every project needs to get past for it to secure funding and be delivered. Harry’s list of things he needs to achieve and people and organisations he needs to get onside was spot-on, and I look forward to seeing this project develop.

Chris Heaton-Harris MP

Phil Larratt, of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We will be doing everything we can in the background working with partners to lobby central government and Network Rail to make this and other opportunities a reality and supporting Mr Burr’s vision.”

And, to finish, how about this list of 10 young people who “changed the world”, drawn up by the US educational organisation Waterford.org:

We’ve put together a list of 10 modern-day heroes who have made a difference in their communities from a young age. If your students ever ask you, “Can young people change the world?” the stories of these children and young adults answer a resounding “Yes!”

from the website Waterford.org

The image of Aleesha at the head of this article can be found on the Nottingham Local News website here.

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