I was really gutted yesterday. My daughter was receiving a Jack Petchey Achievement award and I couldn't go along to watch. I wanted to, but unfortunately we were only given one ticket so my wife won the heads or tails. Now I'm not moaning about our family only getting one ticket. We'd have taken a book full and brought aunties/ uncles and even the dog if we could have. The trouble is that so would all of the other proud parents, so to make sure everyone could have someone, the number of guest tickets were strictly limited.
Had I gone along, I'd have given you a far more detailed description of the proceedings, but I'm afraid It'll have to be a touch on the sketchy side as to who actually got what. The good thing is that it seems there are plenty of children and teenagers who are doing things worthy of receiving such an award. If you read the papers, they are full of stories of knife crime, hoodies, teenage drug use, teenage pregnancy, teenager murders, teenage suicides. Whilst these stories sell papers, it gives us a rather jaundiced view of what our teenagers are really like. I run a business where I see hundreds of teenagers and young adults a week. In the last 29 years, the number who I've met who I've really disliked I could probably count on one hand. If you set against that the hundreds, if not thousands who have come down and organised charity gigs, played for free for good causes and given their time to help others, you soon realise that the overwhelming majority of kids are decent, honest, trustworthy and a credit to themselves.
The Jack Petchey foundation was set up to recognise this fact. Awards are given to reward and encourage outstanding achievement. My daughter finished in second place in the 12 year old girl section of the ASA National Swimming Championships in Sheffield. She received her award from the Mayor, Councillor John Marshall at the Pentland Centre, Finchley. She was thrilled. When they got in, I asked how it went and she said it went really well and the Mayor was very nice. He took a real interest in her Swimming career and gave her plenty of encouragement for the future. I asked my wife about the presentations and she said that the Mayor made special mention of the Gospel Choir from Bishop Douglass School. He mentioned that the school had been having severe problems a few years ago and a new headmistress has turned it round. He said he was specially pleased to see them making such great progress. That is a sentiment we can all agree on.
As I said, I'd love to have been there, I would love to have given a full list of all the winners, as they most certainly deserve recognition. I'd like to say thanks to the Jack Petchey organisation for the great work they do. If you know a young person who is doing something exceptional, tell them about the scheme.