A BLACKPOOL teenager who turned his life around to become a role model for others was the toast of Lancashire last night after scooping a top citizenship award.
Ashley Thompson, 15, from South Shore, beat competition from dozens of youngsters across the county to be named the High Sheriff’s Young Citizen of the Year.
And the teenager wasn’t the only one setting a shining example for the Fylde coast.
Blackpool Prince’s Trust Team 52 was named Team Of The Year and five other youngsters were recognised.
Ashley said: “I couldn’t believe it, it’s a massive surprise but I’m really pleased.
“I knew I had to change my life and stop getting into trouble.”
Ashley, from Palatine High, was skipping school and getting in trouble with the police until he joined social club Boathouse Youth three years ago.
Now he works as a young leader mentoring youngsters, and is studying for GCSEs.
Ashley received his award at Lancashire Police’s headquarters in Hutton last night.
The annual awards invite members of the community to nominate a young person who has helped their neighbourhood, an individual, family member or organisation.
High Sheriff Peter Mileham said: “Ashley’s story is an inspirational one. He sets a shining example to other young people which is wonderful.”
Laurence Hancock, from Boathouse Youth who nominated Ashley added: “He is a credit to our organisation and a completely different person to the one who joined us three years ago.
“All the credit must go to him.”
Tales of selflessness and hard work poured in from across the Fylde coast. The Prince’s Trust group won for building decking at fire-ravaged charity Donna’s Dream House.
Voluntary work at North Shore’s First Steps Centre saw Jacob Adams commended, fundraising saw Hollie Shone and Megan Rumney awarded and twins Kyle and Tyler MacPherson were also commended for caring for their mother.
Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield who is chairman of the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime said: “I am delighted to see a Blackpool winner, especially one setting such a positive example for others to follow.”