A TEENAGER who turned his life around after using drugs and self-harming as he tried to cope with his grief has scooped a royal award.
Anthony McMahon, 15, stopped going to school and would not leave the house after his family faced a double bereavement. They then further devastation when his father died.
Now he has been presented with a regional award through his work with the Prince’s Trust, taking the top award at the ceremony.
Anthony joined the charity’s xl programme at Red House Academy, with the project helping to improve confidence and motivation who are struggling with education.
He astounded staff by taking part in group work and showed maturity and common sense which had a good influence on others.
It helped him overcome his fear of crowded places and his attendance levels went from zero to 97 per cent.
He said: “The biggest thing I’ve got from the Prince’s Trust is that I now believe in myself and that good things can happen.
“I feel like life is work living again. I can’t believe I’ve won this award.
“Before The Prince’s Trust xl programme, I didn’t want to even think about school but they helped me so much.
“This award is just the icing on the cake now and I’m looking forward to the future.”
Zoe Warren, from Washington, was named runner up in the same category of the The Prince’s Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards.
The 17-year-old was referred to Seconds Out, a similar programme to the one Anthony took, after she ended up in a care home, got into trouble with the police and was admitted to hospital when she took drink and drugs.
She said: “The Prince’s Trust Staff always seemed to see something in me and made me feel like I could do things.
“I feel so lucky that I had the chance to turn my life around.”
Kayley Ede, 26, from Sunderland, was named runner up for the Meldrum Construction Young Ambassador of the Year Award.
She set up her own business, singing to act as a memory aid to dementia sufferers in care homes, after she was made redundant from her job as a recruitment consultant.
Red House’s xl programme also won a runners up prize, as did Washington Team, based at the town’s fire station and offers a 12-week course to boost job sills and confidence to find work.
Sean Pearson, 26, from Sunderland, was named runner up for the Samsung Young Achiever of the Year Award after overcoming family difficulties and finding work through Marks and Spencer and the trust.
Sean said: “Before the Make Your Mark programme my life was going nowhere.
“The Prince’s Trust showed me how to believe in myself again and achieve my goals.”