Stephen Fourie and 18 fellow students from Sudbury Upper School & Arts College took top honours in the fourth annual Sudbury Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Awards.

Nominated for the individual awards by Sixth Form Tutor Kathryn Townend, 19-year-old Stephen received the Young Citizen Challenge trophy from last year’s winner, Holly Watson, during the awards ceremony which at Sudbury’s Quay Theatre on Thursday 9th February.

As chairman of the 19-strong Anti-Bullying Squad, Stephen also received the Team Trophy – introduced for the first time this year – and all his fellow team-members received certificates and medals for the work they are doing at Sudbury Upper School to help eradicate bullying.

As well as his work with the Anti-Bullying Squad, Stephen was nominated by Kathryn Townend because he is ‘an exceptionally kind, considerate individual, who thinks nothing of giving much of his time to help others within our school community.

‘What makes Stephen all the more outstanding is that throughout his childhood, he endured years of being bullied. He refused to allow this to affect his personality and his aspirations for the future. He continued to strive for his goals and to support others in a dignified, determined manner,’ she added.

Both Stephen and the Anti-Bullying Squad team received cash awards of £100, in addition to the trophies, certificates and medals. The members of the team are: Stephen Fourie, Danielle Marchant, Nicole Ellis, Corrine Ansell, Ben Jefferies, Ashley Stafford, Rhiannon Read, Ophelia Wollny, Hannah Davies, Saskia Caddock, Isla Marchant, Kelvin Nice, Kieran Heard, Ellie Coleman, Patsy Barnard-Jones, Jasmine Brien, Kel vin Chiong, Taylor Frendo-Wright and Jon Bloomfield.

Second prize in the team awards went to the Thackeray family, comprising Dominic, Samuel, Rebecca and Alice, for their support for their parents Sarah and Roger in their work for the Chrestos Mission in Thailand. Immediately after receiving their awards the four siblings unanimously decided to use the £75 cash prize to further help the Burmese refugees at the Chrestos Mission.

Actor and director Brian Theodore Ralph, who also lectures in Performing Arts at Suffolk New College, Ipswich, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the awards, which were jointly presented by the presidents of Sudbury Talbot and Sudbury Rotary Clubs, Laraine Green and Malcolm Offord.

Although unable to be at the awards event this year, because of a prior commitment at the House of Lords, Andrew, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, President and founder of the Citizenship Foundation, commended the two Sudbury Rotary Clubs, the Suffolk Free Press and Waitrose for working together to organise the Sudbury Rotary Young Citizen of the Year.

‘At this difficult time it is ever more vital that we pull together as a community by caring for each other. The Young Citizen Awards do that brilliantly. The winners are a beacon to us all, and proof that no young citizen should feel that he or she has nothing to contribute.’