Harpenden Beaver volunteer nominated for young people’s accolade

Zach Cole, who attends Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden, has been nominated for a YOPEY

Zach Cole, who attends Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden, has been nominated for a YOPEY - Credit: Photo supplied

An unsung hero from Harpenden who helped rebuild a Romanian school has been nominated for a prominent prize.

Zach Cole, 17, (pictured) has been nominated for a Smith Milne Young People of the Year (YOPEY) award.

The teenager has given up many evenings and weekends to help put on activities for youngsters at First Kimpton Beavers.

He also assists the Explorer Scouts at Wheathampstead and helps run events as head boy at Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden.

The YOPEYs, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, recognises and rewards young unsung heroes across Herts, with £2,000 prize money for winners to share with the community.

Zach was nominated by an anonymous person, but has won praise from his sixth form manager, Julie Honour-Jones, and his leader at Explorers, Matt Wood.

His nominator said: “As a young Scout at the age of 11 Zach had the drive to ask the Beaver leaders in his home town if they would like any help.”

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Matt Wood said: “He is a very committed young person who loves to help others.”

Julie Honour-Jones added: “Zach is well respected within the school. He takes a lot of time to go and talk to the younger children and helps them. Zach organises many events and runs clubs for us.”

Zach co-founded one of the first school-based Oxfam youth action groups, which works in tandem with the nationwide charity to give voices and ambassadorial roles to young people.

The teenager also volunteered to go abroad last year, on an expedition with nine fellow Sir John Lawes students to help renovate a derelict school in Romania.

YOPEY was founded by former journalist Tony Gearing, who said: “There are many young people in Herts doing wonderful things for others. It’s just that they live in the shadow of a well-publicised anti-social minority.”

There is a top prize of £800 to be won by a young person or group of young people who help others. The young person or group keeps £400 and gives £400 to a good cause of their choice.

Zach said: “I do not know who nominated me and it is really unexpected, so this is an overwhelming and pleasant surprise.”