Volunteering earns Gidea Park girl Young Person of the Year nomination

15:27 03 January 2014

Niamh Marshall, 14, was nominated for the YOPEY by her form tutor, Helen Knowles.

Niamh Marshall, 14, was nominated for the YOPEY by her form tutor, Helen Knowles.


Helping out at church, clubs and schools has earnt one Gidea Park teenager a nomination in a competition that recognises achievements of young Londoners.

Niamh Marshall, 14 of Oaklands Avenue has been nominated for the John Lewis Young People of the Year awards (Yopeys) for her selfless work.

A pupil at the Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School in St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, Niamh and a friend regularly go back to their old school ­ St. Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Dorset Avenue, Romford ­ to help out.

She also helps a girl with learning difficulties take communion classes at St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Park End Road.

Now her form tutor Helen Knowles has now nominated her for the Yopeys, which reward unsung heroes in London.

Helen said: “Niamh is an outstanding role model. She is mature, kind, considerate, and always giving of her time.

“She personifies what every teenager should aspire to be like in today’s society.

“She gives so much and never asks for any praise or recognition.”

A £1,000 prize awaits the winner - who will keep £500 and invest the other £500 in a good cause of their choice.

Regarding her volunteering at the church, Niamh said: “I started about two years ago when my mum became a catechist.

“The first year there was a young girl who needed extra help and I offered to sit with her. I would assist her in any questions and reading to the class.”

Niamh is also one of the senior altar servers at St Edward’s, which means that she teaches newcomers how to fulfil the role and helps the priest run religious services.

“It is always nice when the person you are helping says thank you or gives you a smile when they leave,” she said.

Schools, youth organisations, churches and charities in the capital are being urged to nominate their young people by visiting


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