Brave Victoria win Young People of Year Award

PUBLISHED: 09:53 22 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:54 12 May 2010

A TEENAGER from Buntingford has won the annual East Herts Young People of the Year award for her brave battle against cancer. Victoria Stokes, 16, was nominated by her fellow students at Freman College because of her upbeat attitude and bravery . Victori

A TEENAGER from Buntingford has won the annual East Herts Young People of the Year award for her brave battle against cancer.

Victoria Stokes, 16, was nominated by her fellow students at Freman College because of her 'upbeat attitude and bravery'.

Victoria was diagnosed with cancer this summer just two years after her mother died of the disease.

She noticed she was losing strength in her knee while undergoing trials for a top netball team. And following chemotherapy her right knee has been replaced with a metal prosthesis as doctors seek to replace the site of the rare bone cancer.

Victoria admits she was 'very shocked' to receive the award at the awards ceremony held at GlaxoSmithKline in Ware last Friday.

Commenting on the awards, she said: "I was touched when I heard that friends at school had even nominated me for the YOPEY award and it certainly gave me a great lift to realise how many people cared."

Victoria received two cheques for £500 each. She will be donating £500 to the Teenager Cancer Trust because she wants to help create more specialist units to care for young cancer sufferers in hospital. At the moment there is only seven units but there are hopes for 14.

She also gave back £500 to YOPEY because she thinks other finalists are more worthy.

The money will be carried forward to the Herts YOPEY final which will take place next Spring with one finalist being crowned Herts Young Person of the Year.

Commenting on the contest, the judges which included Councillor Allen Burlton, chairman of EHDC and Chief Superintendent Gary Kitching of Herts Police said: "Victoria is an incredibly brave young woman with an indomitable spirit and positive attitude so necessary in the fight against cancer.

"She modestly states that there is nothing outstanding about her. But for one so young she is setting an example to cancer sufferers old and young everywhere."

Victoria of Benington near Stevenage, remains positive and is determined not to be beaten by the disease.

She said: "You can sit around and cry about it and think 'why me?' but ultimately that's wasting time."

When Victoria is well enough she will return to Freman College to continue her AS Levels in Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English but in her spare time she continues to go to the gym.

She said: "I'm just trying to get through the best way I can. I have been dealt a hand of cards, I have no option but to play them so I must make the best of what I've got."

Headteacher of Freman College, Helen Loughran, said: "Victoria is an extraordinary young woman and an amazingly gifted sportswoman. She always takes part in things and finds time for other people. She's an absolute star and someone who makes an extraordinary contribution to the college community. She's a fantastic role model."

Founder of YOPEY, Tony Gearing said: "It's onwards and upwards. This was our sixth awards ceremony and the quality of young unsung heroes revealed, recognised and awarded by YOPEY just goes on getting better and better.

"The venue was superb and the biggest we've had yet. It's only a pity we didn't fill it. Next time we want to see more people from across the community. Everyone should be celebrating the cream of today's young people as they are our future."

* For more information visit www.youngpeopleoftheyear.org

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