TEENAGE daredevil Karl Southern wowed onlookers with his cycling skills as part of a drive to get youngsters to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Urban Games BMX champion Karl, from Sunderland, amazed the crowds attending Activate 2012, at Bents Park, South Shields, at the weekend.
The one-day festival was aimed at encouraging young people between the ages of five and 18 to get involved in youth groups in their area.
Fifteen-year-old Karl said: “Events like Activate 2012 are brilliant as the young people can pick up tips by watching us perform on the day. It also gives them the opportunity to try out a few tricks and stunts of their own.
“The North East has great skate parks, where young people can hang out, ride and show off their style and skills. The sports scene in the region is getting bigger and can only get better.”
The free event celebrated children and young people across South Tyneside, Wearside and beyond.
It also showcased the skills and work of regional organisations with an aim to attract new members to sign up.
Also present was Paralympic gold medallist Josef Craig.
Josef, 15, said: “Sport was a great way to feel part of something special.
“Being part of a group was crucial in the build-up to winning my gold medal, as I’m a member of South Tyneside Swimming Club.
“All of their help and support really made a big difference.
“This is why I’m here at Activate 2012.
“I feel that getting young people to take part in group activities isn’t just important in sports but also in life.
“It allows you to come together, have fun and make new friends.”
Activate 2012 was one of the last outdoor events across Tyne and Wear to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear Nigel Sherlock said: “I can’t think of a more fitting way to help celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee than having young people from across Tyne and Wear unite and honour Her Majesty.”