A Ranby teenager has been crowned as the overall winner of the annual 4Uth awards – with her tale of courage an inspiration to all.
Lauren Hall beat off stiff competition from six other district winners to win the Nottinghamshire Outstanding Achievement Award at a special awards ceremony at County Hall last Friday.
The 18-year-old was initially nominated for the award by teacher Maria Hall who thought her sporting talent and courage through adversity should be recognised.
Lauren said she was shocked to hear council leader Coun Kay Cutts announce she was the overall winner.
“I could not believe it when my name was read out at the end and I am still in shock, but very pleased to have won,” she said.
“It is special that I have been nominated and voted for as the overall winner by so many people.”
Lauren suffered a head injury in Year 10 following a sudden collapse which resulted in partial vision, and she was also diagnosed with Coeliac disease which led to blood sugar problems.
Despite a very weak auto immune system she finished her GCSEs with some excellent results and joined Retford Post 16 to do her A levels in Sports and Exercise Science.
Alongside her studies she took part in other activities such as trampolining – reaching Nationals and coming sixth – as well as coaching it and tutoring street dance.
She was forced to give up sport after collapsing in March after discovering she had heart related problems.
But despite this huge setback, she continues to coach from the sidelines as a sports leader for the district council alongside her studies and is looking to the future – hoping to go to Sheffield Hallam University to study to become a dietician.
Teacher Maria said Lauren was a deserving winner for the award.
“She has the most beautiful smile and despite it fading on occasions Lauren has firmly reinstated it of late through her gritty determination, boundless energy and new career focus.”
Bassetlaw councillor Alan Rhodes featured on this year’s 4Uth judging panel and said he was proud a true talent in the district had been recognised.
“It was a very strong field of candidates but Lauren is a worthy winner. I was delighted to personally congratulate her. She is a remarkable young person,” he said.
Added Coun Cutts: “The final of 4Uth was a special occasion and we were delighted to share in the celebrations of the achievements of all seven finalists.
“We’ve been hugely impressed by the quality of the nominations again this year and it was a special moment when we were able to celebrate with Lauren following the announcement that she was the overall winner.”
Lauren was presented with her award and £250 in High Street vouchers at the ceremony.
There were 56 nominations from across the county this year, with nominations coming in from friends, family members, youth workers and other people who work in a range of voluntary, public sector and other organisations.