St Albans teens take silver medals in the Young Person of the Year awards

Emma Tammaro and Kat Thomas among the YOPEY runners up

Emma Tammaro and Kat Thomas among the YOPEY runners up - Credit: Archant

Two inspirational teenagers from the St Albans district have been named runners-up in this year’s Young Person of the Year awards for their extensive volunteering work in the community.

Emma Tammaro, 18, from Cotlandswick, London Colney, and Katharine (Kat) Thomas, 17, from Wheathampstead, each won £100 to spend on themselves and on good causes at a ceremony in Rickmansworth last week (10).

Emma, a student at Samuel Ryder Academy, was recognised for her tireless voluntary work as a football coach; six nights a week she can be found helping one of a number of youth teams and a disabled adult team. On top of that, she helps primary school children learn to swim.

What makes Emma’s voluntary work all the more incredible is the fact that she is blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other.

Late last year Emma was diagnosed witha tumour on her pituitary glands, requiring surgery on Christmas Eve.

Emma said she was “honoured and proud” to be labelled as a runner-up and would be spending her £100 on events for “my Rainbows”, the pre-Brownies group for younger children.

St Albans Girls School sixth-former, Kat Thomas, of Butterfield Road, was recognised for her services as a first aid volunteer for St John Ambulance Service and leading a church youth group in Wheathampstead - all while suffering with Tourette’s Syndrome.

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Kat said her love of helping people was a key factor in her voluntary work. She explained: “At times in my life I have needed help from people, and if someone helps me then I try to help them back.

The judging panelwas led by Robert Voss of the Lieutenancy, which represents the Queen in Hertfordshire, who said he was “absolutely blown away and humbled” by YOPEY and added that all the finalists had done “wonderful, selfless, generous and heart-warming things” and were “outstanding role models” for other young people.

The awards, entitled the Smith-Milne Young Person of the Year awards, were sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric of Hatfield, Orange Amplification of Borehamwood, Johnson Matthey of Royston, and Runwood Homes as well as two housing associations, B3Living and North Hertfordshire Homes.