Dog-loving teenager Daisy Buckland from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire has won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Outstanding Young Person of the Year award at Crufts 2017 on Sunday 12th March.
Daily life has always been a struggle for 15-year-old Daisy Buckland, who suffers with selective mutism and Asperger syndrome. Despite being a bright pupil, Daisy finds it extremely hard to interact and speak to adults outside of her home environment, which makes everyday life at secondary school a tough challenge for her.
Since taking part in agility with her six year-old Border Terrier, Charlie, Daisy’s family have noticed a dramatic change in her. She has slowly started to communicate with the adults at her agility club, has competed in a friendly agility competition and won five rosettes.
Her face lights up every time she gets positive comments at her agility classes and recently felt confident enough to attend her agility club’s Christmas party with Charlie. This was very much out of Daisy’s comfort zone, but doing so has given her a new found burst of confidence, which left her smiling for days.
Delighted youngster, Olivia, said: “I’m really surprised, it’s wonderful to win this award. Charlie really looks after me and that’s what I love about him most. I love everything about him, I just feel really proud of Charlie.”
Young Kennel Club (YKC) members were nominated for one of five categories in the prestigious award which celebrates the hardworking, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers. Each category winner was invited to Crufts 2017 for the award ceremony following a public vote to decide the overall YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award.
The category winners were:
• Young Braveheart of the Year – Daisy Buckland, aged 15, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
• Champion Volunteer of the Year – Laura Bethan Williams, aged 23, from Rhyl, Clwyd
• Good Buddy of the Year – Liam Landymore, aged 18, from Beaworthy, Devon
• Sporting Talent of the Year – Antonia Leech, aged 19, from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
• Fundraiser of the Year – Mariann Bayliss, aged 12, from Stourbridge, West Midlands
The YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award is one of the highest level of achievement for young dog lovers. For over thirty years Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy to the winner of the award at Crufts, in memory of their son, Shaun. The trophy is awarded annually to encourage young dog lovers to become more involved in dog activities, as Shaun himself had achieved considerable success as a dog handler.
Previous winners of the competition have been selected for their volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, helping organise dog activities in the local community, and assisting others through training, stewarding and mentoring.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, commented: “Congratulations to this year’s YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year, Olivia Buckland. Her story is an inspiration to young dog lovers all over the UK and she truly deserves the recognition for all of her hard work, time and effort that she’s put into helping the lives of dogs.”
“We are so proud and delighted to be able to have such generous, talented and strong young people as Young Kennel Club members and we urge all young dog lovers to follow in these wonderful finalists’ footsteps.”
The category winners were each invited to Crufts 2017 on Sunday 12th March for a special presentation ceremony in the YKC ring where they each received an exclusive ambassador’s badge and certificate signed by the Kennel Club Chairman, Simon Luxmoore.
For further information about Crufts visit www.crufts.org.uk. If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please contact the Young Kennel Club team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ykc.org.uk.
Crufts took place from 9th-12th March 2017 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, please visit www.crufts.org.uk.