Charity efforts earn Wheathampstead teenager award nomination

YOPEY entry Gordon Tveito-Duncan

YOPEY entry Gordon Tveito-Duncan - Credit: Archant

AFTER losing both his mother and oldest friend to heart attacks in the course of a year, many students might have crumbled.

But Gordon Tveito-Duncan channelled his grief into inspirational charity works and has now been nominated for an award that recognises exceptional young people.

Gordon, of Drovers Lane, Wheathampstead, has been put forward for the Mitsubishi Electric Young People of the Year Award (YOPEY). which recognises the work of exceptional young people.

The 19 year old has been nominated for his tireless charity work in the face of recent adversity. Since 2011 he has watched his sister battle a brain tumour, and lost both his mother and then oldest friend to heart attacks.

At the time, the former St Albans School student was looking forward to studying Economics at Warwick University.

In 2011 Gordon’s younger sister Kaya was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which required immediate operation.

Shortly after hearing the bad news, their Norwegian-born mum Ingebjorg suffered a heart attack and died aged 49.

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Gordon struggled to comprehend the loss of his mother. “She was otherwise healthy, fit and comparatively young. I was in a state of shock and disbelief. It didn’t make sense for my mum to die,” he said.

Though still grieving, a fortnight later Gordon threw himself into his studies, knowing it was what his mum had wanted. But he was still driven to make sense of his mum’s death.

“I felt very strongly that I wanted to raise money for a charity to prevent people dying prematurely from heart attacks, as my mother had,” he added.

Last summer Gordon raised £11,200 cycling the Coast to Coast challenge between Newcastle and Maryport. The money raised will go towards computer software to aid research into cardiovascular disease and last month Gordon presented a console to Papworth Hospital where his mum died.

The YOPEY nominee, who also lost a childhood friend to a heart attack last September, has continued his charitable work. instead of planned internships in the City this summer, he is instead going to Africa and spending a month working for the charity East African Playgrounds.

Gordon and Kaya’s father, Ian, has praised his children’s resilience. “After their mum died neither of them have said ‘poor me’, they just have got on with it.”

The awards ceremony will be held in Herts this autumn. Nominations close on July 31 and for more information visit