By David Levien, retired teacher and Voice member (personal view)
On Monday July 1 2019, I had the privilege of attending the 20th Anniversary Diana Award Celebrations at the House of Lords. The focus of the event was on celebrating the incredibly amazing children and young people who have received Diana Awards – heroes and ambassadors on behalf of the future constituents of this nation.
The Diana Award was originally set up as a pilot scheme and became a national movement – celebrating and supporting thousands of young people who change their communities and lives for the better. The Diana Award is supported by Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
As Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive of the Diana Award (pictured with me above), said:
“Supporting young people will remain the heart and soul of this organisation.”
I’ve been a supporter of the Diana Award almost from its inception because:
- it’s a great privilege to support this prestigious Award for such deserving young people that I am sure the late Diana, Princess of Wales – the “Queen of Hearts” – would have been so proud of if she was still with us today;
- young people at their best are this nation’s greatest ambassadors, for which a celebration of their efforts must be our high calling; and
- encouraging young people to engage, contribute and invest in shaping civic society reaps treasures greater than diamonds and gold to the overwhelming benefit of this nation.
My commitments and involvement with the Diana Award have developed and evolved over time
As a recognised Nominator between 2000 and 2015, in my capacity as a serving teacher in Salford, I successfully nominated over 60 young people from two schools, Moorside and Walkden.
Successful nominees included students:
- fundraising on behalf of numerous charities;
- working on an eco-friendly school initiatives;
- participating in a European Youth Conference in Sweden;
- representing the Lowry as a Youth Dance Ambassador;
- setting up a new school council;
- forming and promoting a child-led mentoring scheme;
- making videos on a variety of issues, including the challenges encountered by children caring for adults, anti-bullying challenges, knife crime issues etc;
- supporting elderly Chinese senior citizens with literacy issues;
- a sea cadet - participating in the Queen’s Pageant down the River Thames in 2012; and
- many others too numerous to relate here.
As a thank you for my voluntary services to the Diana Award, I had the honour and privilege of representing the City and the schools I served at the 15th anniversary reception at Downing Street in October 2014.
Between 2014 and 2016, I continued to nominate Salford children/students. In 2015 I attended and supported the Award in connection with one of their ‘Inspire Days’ at an event held at the Lowry in November 2015.
Since 2017, I have been delighted to serve as a Panel Judge for the North West England region.
In September 2018, I attended a regional awards event at the Leeds College of Music. It was fabulous to see an amazing ‘Salford Young Carer’ group nominated by the Lowry receive the prestigious Premier Diana Award.
I enthusiastically remain committed to this work. I feel this organisation is one all our members should consider supporting if at all possible.