Former St Albans schoolgirl nominated for county award

Beth Davidson has been nominated for the Mitsubishi Electric Young People of the Year awards (YOPEY)

Beth Davidson has been nominated for the Mitsubishi Electric Young People of the Year awards (YOPEY) - Credit: Archant

A teaching assistant, who went to school in St Albans, has been nominated for an award dubbed the ‘Oscars for young people’.

Beth Davidson, 20, who lives in Welwyn Garden City, has been nominated for the Mitsubishi Electric Young People of the Year awards (YOPEY).

Caring Beth has tried to help others from a young age.

When she was 10, she learnt sign language so she could ‘buddy up’ with a fellow pupil who had Down’s Syndrome and communication challenges.

After leaving Nicholas Breakspear School in St Albans, Beth went to college to study childcare but left to seek an apprenticeship because she wanted to help children full time.

Beth said she had originally wanted to be a nursery nurse, adding: “When I went on placements I saw children who were struggling, unable to sit still or slightly aggressive or had delayed speech.

“One little boy would become angry and disruptive and some could class it as ‘just a naughty child’ but I found he was struggling to talk.

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“In Year 6 I had learned Makaton sign language to talk to a Down’s girl and later found how non-verbal children reacted when they realised they could be understood with sign language.”

Beth now works at Lakeside, a special school in Lemsford Lane, Welwyn Garden City.

She was nominated for a YOPEY by her mum Liz Davidson, who said: “She always goes the extra mile, devising ways of interacting with the children and finding ways to make contact with something hidden deep within them.

“Beth has always had a strong sense of right and wrong. From a young age she wanted to work with young children with special needs.”

The nomination was supported by deputy headteacher Lynnette Davidson, who said: “Beth has completed her apprenticeship and is now one of our top TAs.

“She has recently become a trainer and works with me training colleagues. We sometimes forget she is only 20.”

A qualified swimming pool lifeguard since the age of 13, Beth now takes children, including wheelchair users, into the school’s therapy pool.

The annual competition has over £1,000 to be won by young people who ‘give to others’.

There will be at least two Herts Young People of the Year.

A senior YOPEY, aged 17-25, winning £500, and a junior YOPEY, aged 10-16, winning £300.

Either prize can be won by an individual or group and the winners have to invest most of their winnings in their good cause but can keep £100 to treat themselves.

There will also be several £100 runners-up prizes.

A lavish awards ceremony will be held at Moor Park Mansion, Rickmansworth, this autumn.

• Do you know somebody who deserves the title Young Person of the Year? To nominate logon to or write, enclosing a stamped-addressed-envelope, to YOPEY, Woodfarm Cottage, Bury Road, Stradishall, Newmarket CB8 8YN for a paper entry form. Entries close on July 31.