A young community champion has won a major award.
Big-hearted 18-year-old John Shone, of Woods Terrace in Marsden, has been named Young Tenant of the Year at the recent TPAS (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) Northern Region Finals in Manchester, for helping make the village better.
John, of the Woods & Carrs Youth Tenant & Resident Association, has dedicated swathes of his free time to carrying out positive projects in the area since he was only 14, when he led his group to raise more than £60,000 to improve a local play area.
Since then he has set up a youth group for villagers who have undertaken activities such as a forest school and helped with tree planting, all while studying maths and IT at Huddersfield New College.
They are currently trying to raise £100,000 to create a skate and BMX park for Marsden.
“It was a bit of a surprise”, said John, who was nominated for the award by Communities Who Can fieldworker Maxine Edwards.
He has just been elected onto the Communities management board to represent Kirklees rural district.
“I don’t think I deserve it though.
“I understand why I’ve been given it because of what I’ve done in the community but I could never have got where I am without the community.
“It’s not just my award, it’s one for everyone who has helped me along the way.”
John and his group have just submitted plans for the skate park, which they hope to build on Kirklees Council owned land at the Old Goods Yard.
“It’s coming along well.
“The plans include ramps, a bowl, rails and a BMX track that will go around the edge.”
John said he is driven to helping due to his love of the community.
“I’ve got my family who I love and protect for but I also see the community as a bigger family that I want to care for too.
“I just want to make Marsden a bigger and better place.
“Working with other young people gives me the ability to nurture the village for the future, while working with older people is giving me experience.
“I’ve also learned a lot about the pasts of the elderly people who we work with.
“I want to create this massive, happy family.
“My ultimate vision is a world where there’s no war, equality and where everyone gets along.”
John will now go through to the TPAS national final, which will be held at its national conference in Warwickshire in July.