In March 2015, SSAFA hosted the fourth annual Young Achievers Awards in British Forces Cyprus (BFC).

The awards scheme, which is sponsored by Sodexo, has been running since 2011 and acknowledges the achievements of young people from age 5 to 18 who have made an important contribution to their community, as well as those who have given hope and encouragement to others.

At the end of 2014, the BFC community, including parents, teachers, youth workers and health professionals were invited to put forward their award nominations. Then, on 6 March 2015, a ceremony was held to present 23 individual awards and one group award to the worthy winners from across the island.

Winners included young people who have attained great sporting or adventurous achievement, demonstrated acts of bravery or courage, overcome serious illness and/or personal difficulties, fund raised for Charity, been a good neighbour and worked hard to make things better for others, as well as those who have quite simply managed to achieve against the odds.

The awards were presented by the prominent England rugby champion, Matt Dawson MBE. Matt was part of England’s successful winning team in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, which capped an impressive rugby career at both club and international level. He is also well known as a sports commentator for BBC Radio Five Live and team captain since 2004 on BBC’s flagship sports quiz ‘A Question of Sport.’  In 2006, he won BBC Celebrity Masterchef and published his own cookbook, following his Royal Television Society nominated food show ‘Mitch & Matt’, which was shown on UK Food.

In 2010, Matt was appointed as an ambassador for Sodexo to help raise awareness of health and well-being issues and to lend support to a number of initiatives. 

Commander British Forces Cyprus, Air Vice-Marshall Mike Wigston CBE, opened the event with a short speech to welcome the 120 guests, including the Award winners their parents, visiting relatives and nominators, before handing over to the MC for the day, Patrick Eade from BFBS.

Patrick read the Award Winner’s citations as Matt presented each young person with their Award and Certificate.  After the presentations Matt very kindly posed for photographs with the guests and signed his autograph on various rugby shirts, photos and programmes.

The near perfect weather added to a successful event and SSAFA would like to thank Commander British Forces for supporting the event, Episkopi Officers’ Mess, for hosting the event, and sponsors, Sodexo.  SSAFA would also like to thank those who nominated the Young Achievers and all those who worked extremely hard to ensure that the event was a great success.

Finally, special thanks and congratulations must go to all the Young Achiever Award Winners for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the BFC community.