Issued: November 12, 2015
PICTURE: Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with Cody Smart and his mother Yvonne CLICK HERE
MP praises 'most inspirational young person'
A Buckhurst Hill teenager has received a national 'most inspirational young person award' from Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing.
Cody Smart, a former student at Roding Valley High School, Loughton, was recognised by MPs at the Kids Count Inspiration Awards ceremony at the House of Commons (Monday, November 9) when he was presented with the award for the UK's 'MP’s Inspire the House, Most Inspirational Young Person' honour.
At the age of nine, Cody Smart - who received Epping Forest District Council's Young Citizen of the Year award in 2012 - taught himself to play the piano so he could go out and raise money to help fund his mother’s fight against cancer.
Cody, now 17, has become a talented musician attending college.
Unfortunately Cody’s mother’s cancer has not been cured yet despite this, out of 600 applications, Cody has won a place at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology.
Cody received his award from Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing in the presence of leading politicians, Government ministers, community heroes and other high achieving young people from across the UK.
Mrs Laing said "I am really proud of Cody. When I first met him he was just nine years old and showed amazing initiative in teaching himself to play the piano so he could go out and earn money to help support his mum when she had cancer.
"Cody is now 17 and has worked with many local charities to raise enormous amounts of money for good causes.
"He and his band will be taking part, with Rotary, in the New Year’s Day parade in a few weeks’ time."
Mrs Laing added: "Cody has shown immense courage and determination and his positive attitude has brought great results.
"It is not surprising that his mum, Yvonne, has tears in her eyes this evening as she looks on with great pride at her son’s achievements.”
During the ninth annual Kids Count Inspiration Awards evening, business leaders and MPs recognised and supported inspirational young people and community organisations.
This year there was a record number of nominations received for individuals and groups who are addressing issues that affect the lives of children by creating initiatives that are grounded in practicality and realism, make a positive difference, and afford greater freedom to young people to determine their own futures.
Kids Count chairman Richard Stephenson said: “We’re delighted to recognise the significant achievements of Cody Smart at the Kids Count Inspiration Awards.
"I am very proud to be part of an organisation that not only brings young people to the heart of decision making in Westminster, but that also aims to recognise their contribution to society through these Inspiration Awards.”