University of Derby Young Adventurer Of The Year nominees

10th Oct 2014

Buxton Adventure Festival PROUDLY PRESENTS

THE University of Derby Young Adventurer of The Year NOMINEES



Thank you to our judges Dave Cornthwaite, Squash Falconer and The Meek Family.  The winners will be announced at our awards ceremony at the University of Derby's Oaklands Manor Outdoor Leadership Centre this evening.  (Read full details of the awards here).


Jessica Beresford (16 years old)*
Club Coach at Midland Canoe Club, Ben Seal, nominated Jess who attends Heanor Gate Science College in Derbyshire.  Ben says Jess is an inspiration to everyone at Midland CC.  He wrote, ‘Her thirst for exploring the sport of canoeing has led her from beginner to being one of the most competent paddlers in the club. Even at her young age she leads adults on white water trips, showing great skill and confidence – always with a beaming smile!’

Finnbarr Brooks (10 years old)*
Finnbarr (Denstone College Prep School, Staffs) was nominated and short listed last year for his achievements as a National Windsurfer and he had started taking part in National Speed Skating events. This year Mum Charlotte says he has taken his skating to a new level.  At 9 years old he became the National Champion for Indoor Inline Speed Skating in March followed by triumphing again in July as the National Outdoor Champion, Finnbarr works tirelessly to train and improve his speed and technique. Finnbarr trains at Rollerworld in Derby and competes as an independent racer.  This August he competed in the Flanders Grand Prix in Belgium.  To improve his fitness he’s started fell running and has had some very successful races, storming home ahead of the field.  He has also recently been invited to Derbyshire County Cricket Trials for U10s.

Laurie Butler (17 years old)*
Winner last year of our Young Leader category, this year Laurie has been nominated by his childhood friend Wilf.  Inspired by a talk given by our judge Dave Cornthwaite at last year’s awards, this summer the pair cycled 1,000 miles to Wirksworth’s twin town Die in South Eastern France.  They carried all their own camping and cooking equipment.  The trip took 19 days and they’ve raised 94% of their £2,500 target for Amnesty International. They cycled up to 80 miles every day including three 1,000m cols, only taking one rest day to celebrate Laurie’s birthday.  (See also Wilf Turner below).

Billy Cockrell (15 years old)*
GB Junior Snowboard Team member Billy Cockrell from Eckington Comprehensive (Derbyshire) was nominated by Derbyshire Sport for his impressive record in competitions including a 5th place in the World Rookie Fest Slopestyle in France in the Grom category and first places in the British SnowTour Rankings 2013/14 (1st Overall); British Slopestyle Championships Youth Category in France (1st Youth, 4th Overall) and the British Indoor Championships (1st Youth, 3rd overall); English Indoor Championships (1st Youth, 3rd Overall) and the Scottish Championships (1st Youth).

April-Rose Dalley (7 years old)* **
Mum Sherry nominated April-Rose from Osmaston Primary School in Ashbourne for her adventurous spirit. “April-Rose is an inspiration, she overcomes adversity and continually challenges herself”.  Her main pursuit is horse riding - from pony trekking in the Welsh and Derbyshire countryside to taking lessons - which is extraordinary given she is visually impaired with congenital bilateral cataracts which she doesn’t like to share with her fellow horse riders as she believes she is no different.  She also loves climbing and walking with her Dad.  Her favourite place is Thorpe Cloud early on Saturday mornings which she describes as being ‘on top of the world’.  Her ambition is to one day work for National Geographic and explore and protect the world.

Emma Davidson (15 years old)
Emma who attends Cambridge International School was nominated by her Mum Carol (Holme Court DofE Centre Coordinator) for her volunteering work.  Emma has been ill for some time and in and out of hospital all year.  She started supporting a child with dyslexia at her school, as part of her bronze DofE award, but did not stop after she had met the required time period. She then joined a group of three children with special needs, so that they could complete their DofE expedition and finish their bronze award.  Though ill during the expedition she did not give up, acting as chaperone to make sure that the group were all safe.  Carol says, ‘It was wonderful to see how proud they…and their parents were …when they received their award at the end of year presentation evening.’

Ollie & Harry Ferguson (5 and 2 years old)
Ollie (Monquhitter Primary, Aberdeenshire) and Harry have begun a series of 500 adventures to complete before turning 18.  Nominated by their Dad Mac they have already undertaken 70 of these challenges including a mission to Mars; panning for gold; bat watching; caving; leaving Earth’s orbit; skiing; exploring a tunnel; and camping.  They record their adventures on Facebook (Our Adventure Club).   Mac says, ‘The boys embrace challenges wholeheartedly…and are quick to point out when we have an afternoon free that we should be camping and doing an adventure.  Both boys have an infectious enthusiasm and delight in sharing their adventures with anyone willing to listen.’  Next on the list is beach cleaning, treasure hunting and raising awareness for Aberdeen Neonatal where both boys were cared for after premature births.

Daisi Gale (9 years old)* **
Daisi was nominated by her Mum, Carol.   Daisi attends a small Derbyshire village school (Taddington) and only gets the opportunity to do adventurous activities with her Dad on alternate weekends or during the holidays.  He’s taken her abseiling, slacklining, river swimming, rock climbing and she has been taking scuba diving lessons and has even been diving in the Mediterranean and river orbing when she stays in the village she was born at Tarassac.  Carol says it’s hard being a single parent and she’s so proud of Daisi who is modest and gutsy and deserves recognition for the intensive adventurous time she spends with her Dad.

Dana Heath (15 years old) **
Dana (Westwood College in Leek, Staffs) was nominated by her cousin Paul, her grandmother Janet and Dad Mark for her volunteering and leadership.  She’s gained 13 Scouts badges in just 6 months and never says no to helping anyone. Dana is type 1 diabetic – insulin dependant.  Since joining the Explorers she’s raised more than £600 for her unit.  An experienced climber, she’s training for her permit to take other Explorers, Scouts and Cubs out and is also training to be a Young Leader.  When a fellow team DofE member hurt their knee during training Dana carried his rucksack as well as her own which meant she had to drop out.

Bobby Hewitt and Harvey Martin* (both 15 years old)
Harvey’s Mum Sara put in a joint nomination for Harvey (Chesterfield College/ Ogston Sailing Club) and Bobby (Birchwood Community High, Cheshire/ Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club) who teamed up in August 2013 after sailing RS Fevas for 2 years.  Over the winter they worked tirelessly in wet and very windy conditions, developing the seamless partnership that is vital in double-handed dinghy racing.   They also undertook hours of land based strength and conditioning training to ensure they were in peak fitness ahead of the racing season. They have surpassed all expectations, winning the Nationals and the Europeans before heading out to Carnac, France, for the RS Feva Worlds where they beat 372 athletes from 20 nations over a 14 race series.  Dave Hivey, RYA National Coach, said, “They were brilliant and a pleasure to coach. They deserved all three of the victories simply because they tried harder than everyone else!”   James Peters, Olympic 49er Sailor, said, “It's great to see the boys' hard work paying dividends when it mattered. They were great role models for the British fleet.”   Roy McCubbin, RYA Double Handed Pathway Manager, said, “It is fantastic to win the world title…The duo have dominated the RS XL Feva class this year with some stand out performances across a number of regattas.”

Connor James (13 years old)
Connor who attends Cedars Upper School in Bedfordshire was nominated by his Mum Sue.  Connor has been mis-diagnosed with chronic migraines for the past two years and two months ago started on a medication for postural tachycardia syndrome.  Even if he has not been able to make it to school regularly he has made it to Scout camp.   Connor has been on a canoeing weekend and sailing in the London Docklands. He has not only survived the whole weekend but has dragged himself out of his bed in a darkened room to attend. His target is to walk up the mountains round Kanderstag, Switzerland next summer with his explorer unit.

Rosie Kaye (15 years old)
Family friend Emma nominated Rosie (Cherwell School, Oxford) for her love of the outdoors, her interest in pushing her boundaries and her positive attitude in the face of adversity. Every summer, she goes to Canada, where she participates in long canoe/camping trips along challenging, remote white-water routes that would test even the most seasoned tripper.  This summer she gained her Tripping Masters certificate.  Emma says, ‘Rosie was a shining example of someone who not only cares deeply about the environment, respecting the ideals of no-trace camping, but also acts selflessly to bring together a group and work for the common good of her travel companions. She has faced physical and emotional challenges that few every will, always with a smile, a laugh and an encouraging word for her peers. There is no doubt in my mind that this young woman is an adventure leader in the making.’

Benjamin Klein (6 years old)* **
Osmaston CE (VC) Primary Headteacher Jeanette Hart nominated Benjamin who started indoor climbing in Wirksworth last year.  He has weekly lessons with instructor Will Lucas and now confidently climbs F4.  Will decided Benjamin’s enthusiasm, climbing abilities and eagerness to learn, made him eligible to enter the Level 1-3 training scheme this month, which is normally accessible for over 8s.  After only 9 months, Benjamin was considered to be ready to go rock climbing outdoors at Yarncliffe Quarry where he climbed to HVD level (hard very difficult) being top-roped and without hesitation undertook two 16 metres abseils under the watchful eyes of his instructors.

Harvey Martin (see Bobby Hewitt above)

Roisin Martin (8 years old)*
Osmaston CE (VC) Primary Headteacher Jeanette Hart nominated sailor Roisin who embarked on her RYA level 1 course at Carsington in June just 3 weeks after her 8th birthday.  She’s already half way through level 2 and records all her sails in the family’s Topper Xenon which she now helms.  She is now able, single handed, to rig, launch, sail and return her boat.  Her first race was part of the Guinness World Record ‘Barts Bash’ attempt to simultaneously sail as many boats as possible and she and her Dad and a family friend came an admirable 68th out of 92 boats.  She now possesses her own boat that she will have to look after and sail at the local club and is very excited about the prospect of taking her younger brother out sailing soon!

Finn McAuley (13 years old)
Dad Andrew nominated Finn who attends Braunton Academy in North Devon.  Andrew says that his son has had a infectious spirt of adventure from an early age.  When he was only 10 years old he undertook a four day, 120 mile sea kayaking journey along the River Thames.   Finn is currently busy training off the coast of North Devon where is in planning to sea kayak to the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel.  He had raised over £400 so far for local and national charities.

Jen McGaley (17 years old)
Jen from County Upper School in Suffolk was nominated by her friend Robert for her achievements in kayaking.  Jen recently came in second at the European Freestyle Kayaking Championships. She was in a division that had no age groups and was competing against adults.  Robert says she has been an avid freestyle and white water kayaker and squirt boater for a long time.  She is also a great coach and an inspiration to those learning the sport.

James Pagan (8 years old) **
Simon nominated his son James (who attends St Oswalds in Fulford, York) for his love for the outdoors and his great respect nature and the landscape. His activities include indoor bouldering and rope climbing outdoors.  He supports the York parkrun on a weekend which is a free 5km run open to all runners and has taken part himself. James insists they walk or bike to school. He is also very good swimmer, doing 100m warm ups for his lessons. On a recent holiday to the French Alps they went on high level walks and tree top walks as well as  scrambling in the nature reserves and rope climbing.

Thomas Purdon (16 years old)
Tom (Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast) was nominated by his club leader at David Morrow at Killinchy Activity Group OAC.  David says that Tom, who has cystic fibrosis and has had constant medical care since birth, does not use his illness as an excuse not to be involved but more as a reason to get the most that life has to offer.  Tom has sailed for the Irish sailing team, he now sails for the Northern Ireland laser squad and instructs in the local sailing club.  He finished 5th in a recent British sailing championship. He is also a junior leader in Killinchy Community Youth Association helping out once a week with the 8 to 11 years olds.  He has completed his Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and is currently working on his Gold Award with a view to taking part in taking part in a 4 day, 80km Wilderness expedition in Northern Spain in the summer of 2015.

Andrea Romano (13 years old) **
Nominated by Activity Team West Berkshire’s Dave Treagus, Andrea (Brookfields Special School, Berkshire) was born with a brain malformation and suffers from intractable epilepsy. She has serious speech, language, emotional and behavioural difficulties and needs 24/7 care to administer treatment. Her Mum gets no respite.  Dave set up a Youth Club to move her into mainstream sport.  His team sought Sport England funding to train to be able to deliver her medication which allowed Andrea to attend a six day residential course in the Peak District.  She has done NCAS level 1 is about to finish her level 2. Climbing is the first mainstream activity her Mum can leave her to do like a normal child with other kids. Next year Dave wants to enter Andrea for the BMC Para-climbing scheme in 2015 and get funding for support workers to be able to take her to regional events.

Owen Shrewsbury (12 years old)
Dad Robert nominated Owen who goes to Westgate School in Slough.  Owen is an active scout and is a member of 1st Cippenham Scouts group.  Robert says his son will take on any challenge given to him with activities ranging from mountain boarding to kayaking.   This  Easter he embarked on a six day trip hiking and camping across England along Hadrian’s Wall to raise money for a local charity.

Wilf Turner (16 years old)*
Wilf was nominated by both his friend Laurie and Eliot Martin-French, a member of staff at Anthony Gell school in Wirksworth for his cycling trip with fellow nominee Laurie Butler (see above).  Eliot says they are ‘inspirational men with a great story’ who overcame difficulties like forgetting their burner (they made a coke can stove).  Laurie complements Wilf’s sense of adventure and ability to put up with his smelly feet, Laurie accidentally cooking omelettes with ants, going the wrong way and breaking their combi lock so their bikes were locked together. His inability to speak French never stopped Wilf who managed to order croissants, talk to the locals and chat to the Mayor of Die.  Apparently there is now talk of riding a donkey to India next!

* Lives or goes to school in Derbyshire.  Eligible to win additional prize of an ‘Adventure Day’ experience at Oaklands Manor Outdoor Leadership Centre for themselves and up to 20 classmates.   

** Climber.  Eligible to win a pair of HiAngle climbing shoes, courtesy of our guest speaker, 21 year pro climber Shauna Coxsey’s sponsors Five Ten.