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Young heroes honoured

Young heroes honoured

Published at 11:20am 24th November 2015. (Updated at 11:40am 24th November 2015)

A Harrogate girl with a rare disease is among the winners of this year's Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards.

11-year-old Alicia Donnelly, who has been fighting the blood disorder aplastic anaemia since September 2014, won the Youngster of the Year.

Her treatment meant that she had to be isolated for months, but following a successful bone marrow transplant, she now hopes to start secondary school after Christmas.

Whilst Alicia was awaiting treatment, she had her head shaved to provide a wig for another child going through chemotherapy.

Her efforts inspired classmates at her former school, Oatlands Junior, to hold a 'wacky hair day' to raise money for the Little Princess Trust, whilst the salon which shaved her head has raised nearly £800 for the charity.

The 23rd Awards, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors, mark the achievements of people aged 35 and under in seven categories, from the Arts to Management and Enterprise, and are organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation.

It was established to support young people, and the Awards and other fundraising initiatives have now raised more than £1 million.

Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Awards, said: "We had some prime examples of what it takes to be a Yorkshire Young Achiever, with some fantastic winners in every category, from a student who gave up her spare time to a little girl who gave up her hair, both to raise money for cancer charities.

"None of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors, all of whom have been with us for a number of years, and our guests on the night."

Other winners include Otley's Olympic hero Lizzie Armitstead, who picked up Achievement in Sport.

The 26-year-old, who is currently the World, Commonwealth and National Champion, took up cycling in 2004 and has gone from strength-to-strength.

In September, she sprinted to victory in the UCI Road World Championships and became only the fourth British woman to take the title, following in Beryl Burton's footsteps.

After being spotted by British Cycling aged just 15, Lizzie was initially a track rider, and at her first UCI Track Cycling World Cup, she took home a hat-trick of gold medals.

She's since gone on to claim nine other gold medals at the Track World Cup Series and also won the World Champion title in the Team Pursuit event.

Her focus switched to road racing, and at the London 2012 Olympics, she won a silver medal - the first British medal of the Games.

She now rides for the Boels Dolman team, and in addition to the world title, this year's triumphs have included the Tour of Qatar and three UCI World Cups.

Personality of the Year was awarded to 8-year-old Bailey Matthews from Doncaster.

He captured hearts across Yorkshire when he completed his first triathlon, despite the challenges of having cerebral palsy.

Competitors at the Castle Howard event in July stayed behind to watch the brave youngster fight his way to the finish line, despite falling on the way, and the subsequent video went viral, having hundreds of thousands of views.

Bailey was inspired to take up sport by his family, including his brother Finlay who is a keen gymnast, dad and uncle who both run and mum Julie who is a sports therapist.

Julie said: "He doesn't really sit still long enough to watch sport, he would rather be doing it!"

12-year-old Emmerdale actress Daisy Campbell won Achievement in the Arts.

She joined the cast in 2007 and is now in her fifth year as Amelia Spencer.

On top of her acting career, Daisy is also a professional dancer, having started dancing at the age of three.

She's a specialist in Freestyle, Street and Contemporary dance, holding three national titles in both Freestyle and Street.

Daisy trains three times a week, fitting it in with school, filming and attending the Rebel School of Theatre Arts once a week.

Yorkshire Young Achievers - Simon Mackaness, Bailey Matthews and Peter McCormick

Personality of the Year Bailey Matthews with Simon Mackaness, of Rudding Park, and Peter McCormick OBE