Dog lover Charlotte Page from Ely, Cambridge won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Outstanding Young Person of the Year award as well as the YKC Stakes at Crufts 2016 on Sunday 13th March.
Charlotte collected her Outstanding Person of the Year award during a special presentation ceremony for the finalists in the YKC ring, followed shortly by taking first place in the main arena on the final day of Crufts.
Every year Charlotte goes through tough physical challenges to raise money and awareness for charity. Last year the 22-year-old and her four year-old Dalmatian Pandora climbed Ben Nevis and next month they will be taking on the Virgin London Marathon to raise money for Dogs for Good.
Charlotte also gives up her spare time to help two shows each year; East of England Championship Show and the North of England Dalmatian Club, and spends most evenings putting together the newsletter for the Dalmatian Club and various other activities that the committees need help with.
Charlotte said of her fantastic achievement: "It feels so incredible to have won. There were some really great finalists and to have won is amazing.
"The Young Kennel Club brings all of us young handlers together, so it's brilliant to see people that you don't see all year and have fun with them."
So far Charlotte has raised nearly £4,000 pounds for charity, which she hopes will increase significantly after she runs the London marathon.
More than 60 Young Kennel Club 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 2016 for the award ceremony following a public vote to decide the overall YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award.
The category winners for award were:
• Young Braveheart of the Year - Ruby James, aged 9, who lives with a complex condition called Noonan syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, and deteriorating visual impairment. In spite of these obstacles she is a little girl completely dedicated to her dogs and thrives on handling them at every possible opportunity.
• Champion Volunteer of the Year - Lyndsey Jones, aged 16, who has put an incredible amount of time and hard work into community-based volunteering, running a dog training school twice a week, with all proceeds going to a dog charity. She is mature beyond her years and is incredibly selfless when it comes to anything dog-related.
• Good Buddy of the Year - Kaydie Davidson, aged 8, who is the youngest member at the Newton Heath Dog Training Club. She regularly helps with the puppy course at the club which informs other young people about dog etiquette.
• Sporting Talent of the Year - Belle Howlett, aged 14, who has been training dogs in agility since the age of six. With her dog Ami, Belle has won many first place titles including the Agility Club Starters Cup and the Kennel Club International Young Handler of the Year.
• Fundraiser of the Year - Charlotte-Louise Page, aged 22, who has raised nearly £4,000 for charity and regularly pushes herself to complete both physical and mental challenges with her dog Pandora in order to raise as much money as she can.
The YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award is the highest level of achievement for young dog lovers. For over twenty five 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: "The YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award is always one of the highlights at Crufts; Charlotte and all of this year's finalists should all be extremely proud. We are delighted to have such generous and talented young people as Young Kennel Club members.
"Congratulations to Charlotte on her fantastic double win. The hard work and dedication she puts into the canine world is an inspiration to us all and she is a well-deserving winner."
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 YKC team on 020 7518 1030 or visit www.ykc.org.uk.
Crufts took place from 10th - 13th March 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, please visit www.crufts.org.uk.