Teenage duo scoop £40,000 awards

Natalie Chan-Lam (aged 15) wuth Olympic champion Jason Gardener p
Natalie Chan-Lam (aged 15) wuth Olympic champion Jason Gardener p

TWO talented teenagers from Sheffield picked up £40,000 prizes after wowing judges in a prestigious national competition.

Alexander Gwynne, aged 18, and Natalie Chan-Lam, aged 15, picked up their awards at a celebrity-filled final gala ceremony of the Ambition AXA Awards.

Alexander, from Woodseats, has already started up a business designing paper toys.

They comprise a flat net design that people can print and cut out, then glue together to build a 3D designer model.

His business has landed him a book deal and gained him a world-wide reputation in his chosen field.

Alexander beat two other finalists in the Enterprise category and was presented with his award by Karren Brady, from The Apprentice. She is also vice chairman of West Ham United.

Fulwood girl Natalie, who attends Sheffield High School, impressed the judges with her badminton achievements.

She began playing at nine and has won the national singles title in the under-11s, under-13s and under-15s categories and was under-15s home counties quadrangular Champion.

Natalie was selected in a tight category by Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams, paralympian and The Youth Sport Trust director Marc Woods and AXA chairman Sir Alan Steer.

Olympic champion Jason Gardener presented Natalie with her award.

The awards were launched in March with the aim of rewarding extreme talent and ambition in young people aged between 11 and 18 who have already excelled in their chosen field.

From thousands of entries, the most impressive were shortlisted to five per category, and they were then put to the public vote.

Sir Alan said: “Sometimes far too much is made of the small minority of young people who take opportunities to cause trouble, but who seem to be spoken of as if they are the majority.

“What we should be concentrating on is celebrating the majority of young people who quietly go about doing remarkable things.

“The aim of the awards is to shout about their achievements and to celebrate what young people can do.”