Five new names have been added to our Youth Honours List (scroll below for full list) in the the Queens Birthday Honours 2021. This is YVH’s unique register of young people (under 30) who are recognised by HM The Queen for their social action. Campaign for Youth Recognition, James Cathcart

Updates or amends to or use the contact form to signpost us to new winners

The list is used to inspire others, report trends (such as the 3:1 male/female ratio) and to share with researchers and the Cabinet Office.

Photo gallery head shots of five young winners of Queens Birthday awards 2021
Top Left Clockwise: Raheem, Clegg, Rhys, Amanda, Amika

So far spotted in 2021 are period poverty campaigners:  Amika George MBE (at 21 the youngest in this group) and  Clegg Bamber MBE (25); Race equality campaigner Raheem Sterling MBE* (26); Covid equipment innovator Rhys Mallows BEM (25); and Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson BEM (27)  for services to young people. Who else? See us a message. (*Of course Raheem is a famous footballer, but like Marcus Rashford MBE in 2020, he is included in our list for his community work.

“Do something amazing – why not not nominate someone amazing! Not just for these national awards but for one of the many other national or local awards out there.”

Criticism: Giving awards to those so young, especially those under 20, is not without its critics who argue that early one-off achievements or short-term volunteering are not comparable with a lifetime of service, and might be better being Pride of Britain nominations or Points of Light Awards (from the Prime Minister). However that doesn’t take account of the future potential that such recognition will help to sustain, the increased likelihood of more opportunities coming the way of winners, and marking these young leaders as flagbearers of a new generation – shapers of all of our futures. These are the three factors that could determine when younger candidates are successful.  In addition some young people have reservations about accepting an award because they either feel they don’t deserve it, or the negative association with the word ‘Empire’ – although, to my knowledge, no young person has turned down an award. There is a group people who have turned down or returned awards for a range of reasons including making a statement, protest, or simply not interested in recognition. There is a campaign to change ‘Empire’ to ‘Excellence’ by those who have still accepted awards, and several young people in the list above have joined this campaign, notably this years youngest award recipient Amika George MBE (21) who explains the issues for her in an article for Vogue on why she ‘nearly rejected the honour’.

Campaign for Youth Recognition: I hope that in sharing the examples of younger winners its prompts us all to think of others who would deserve to be recognised, not just nationally, but locally too, not just by Queens Honours but in lots of other ways too. I have made it one of my annual New Year Resolutions to campaign for more young leaders and #youthvoice champions to be recognised in general and nominated for Queens Honours in particular, and started a campaign for youth recognition in 2017. Publishing this list is part of that effort.  #nominatetoday” James Cathcart, Director Young Voices Heard

Note: *The list of young people in this blog are either those that I have known personally or have come across through their work. There are probably more but age if not published in the Honours list, and not all people agree to publicity. Ive not included those who have been recognised for their achievements in the sport and the arts alone. Anyone reading this article who knows of nationally “Honoured” young people Ive overlooked, please get in touch. JC


Youth Honours List    (age <30 at the time – see underneath for citation)

2021   Amika George MBE (21); Clegg Bamber MBE (25); Rhys Mallows BEM (25) Raheem Sterling MBE (26) Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson ; Carl Konadu BEM (28); Rhammel Afflick BEM (26); Alex Anderson BEM (20); and Samah Khalil BEM (20)

2020  Amelia Collins-Patel MBE (22); Marcus Rashford MBE (22); Theo Wride BEM (16); Mete Coban MBE (27);  Matthew Otubu BEM (24); Ibrahim Yousaf BEM (13);  Yusuf Patel MBE (25); Hannah Phillips BEM (24); Jack Marshall BEM (21); Kaiya Swain BEM (25)

2019  Saeed Atcha MBE (22);  Imran Sanaullah MBE (26);  Anna Barker MBE (28);  Richard Collins BEM (17)

2018  Lucia Mee BEM (18);  Tyler Murphy BEM (22)

2017  Jeremiah Emmanuel BEM (18); Devan Witter BEM (19)

2016  Jonjo Heuerman BEM (13)

2015  none known

2014  Rosina St James BEM (23)

2013  Anisa Hagdadi BEM (23)

2012 Alex Sweetland MBE (28); Robyn Keeble MBE (21); Christopher Preddie OBE 24; Alice Pyne BEM (16); Milly Pyne BEM (13)

1949  Bernard Davis BEM (16) When he died in 2015, Bernard still held the record as the youngest person ever to be awarded a BEM. In 1949, at the age of 16, Bernard risked his life in rescuing a 3-year-old girl from a window ledge in a bomb-damaged block of flats in 1949 near Borough Market. I’m sure the impact of the award was celebrated at the time, but although few will recognise Bernard’s name today, the impact of that heroic action lasted a lifetime for the little girl whose life he saved, when Bernard literally ‘stepped up’ to serve. Since then several even young recipients (13) have been honoured but none for saving a life.

Please send us any names we may have overlooked using the contact form below. Do something amazing – nominate someone amazing.

Award Winners 2012-2021

Although the earliest young winner that I’ve come across was Bernard Davis BEM in 1949, who at the age of 16 saved a child’s life but this appears to have been a one-off. The recent trend in younger changemakers (in contrast to sports and arts)  appears to have been prompted by Prime Minister David Cameron’s reintroduction of the BEM (British Empire Medal) in 2012 as part of his Big Society campaign.

2012 -5

Teenage sisters Alice Pyne BEM (16) and Milly Pyne BEM (13) are awarded British Empire Medals for their services to charity. Alice was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and she and her sister have worked tirelessly to raise money to aid research into the disease; Robyn Keeble MBE, age 21,  for services to community activism and youth empowerment – worked with other young people to set up ‘SW!TCH ID’ to encourage young people to make a positive contribution in their local community; Christopher Preddie OBE 24 – services to youth people in London; and Alex Sweetland MBE for services to young people and youth participation, such as the UK Youth Parliament where is was both a trustee and interim Exec Director;

2013 -1

Anisa Hagdadi was awarded a BEM (age 23) for founding Beatfreeks, an award-winning social enterprise engaging young people in arts, training and leadership opportunities.

2014 – 1

Former trustees and Chair of the British Youth Council, Rosina St James (age 23) was awarded a BEM for her work on Health and Wellbeing for young people.

2016 – 1

In the 2016 New Years Honours 2016 Jonjo Heuerman BEM, (13) was revealed as the youngest yet, to receive a BEM, having raised more than £235,000 for Cancer Research UK’s Bobby Moore Fund.

2017 – 2

There has been very little research into who, let alone profile and background of winners, to draw on but the next name I came across was in 2017, when someone I knew from his work in setting up One Big Community anti-knife crime campaign at the age of 13, and then as Lambeth’s rep to the UK Youth Parliament, changemaker Jeremiah Emmanuel BEM (age 18).  He joined Devan Witter BEM  (age 19) who was winner for founding antibullying campaign Action Against Bullying.

2018 – 2

In 2018 Lucia Mee BEM (age 18) an organ donation campaigner from Northern Ireland and Tyler Murphy BEM (age 22) who set up the Tyler’s Trust to support others who share his brain-tumour condition, were recognised.

2019 – 5

In 2019 MBEs were awarded to Saeed Atcha MBE (22), activist, former trustee of Step Up To Serve and founder of Explode magazine; and to the CEO of Patchwork Foundation; Imran Sanaullah MBE (age 26) engaging young people from minorities in politics, and Anna Rose Barker MBE  (age 28) for services to young people including being a former Chair of the British Youth Council. And a BEM to Richard Collins BEM (age 17, Asperger’s Support)

2020 – 10 winners

In the 2020 New Year’s Honours list Matthew Otubu BEM (age 24) former member of the Youth Parliament for services to young people in the UK and Africa, Ibrahim Yousaf BEM (13), for fundraising for cancer research, joined the inspiring Mete Coban MBE (age 27) for establishing My Life My Say, giving youth-voice an effective platform on Brexit, as well as campaigning for young voter-registration. In addition, Yusuf Patel MBE, 25, is now an MBE for services to community cohesion and interfaith in Redbridge; and BEMs for disability advocate Jack Marshall BEM, 21, Hannah Phillips BEM, 24, for services to charity, and finally Kaiya Swain BEM, 25, for services to the World Skills Competition.

In the summer three more names were added to mark the Queens Birthday, making 2020 a record breading year. Amelia Collins-Patel MBE (22) for her services to young people, including volunteering for Project Hope @ylprojecthope,  who have launched their own Young Peoples Honours List at the end of 2020; Marcus Rashford MBE (22) for his campaigning on free school meals, and Theo Wride BEM (16) for making PPE during Covid crisis, and John Challenger BEM (17) for his service to young people, particularly his coordinating role at Sea Cadets.

2021 – 9 winners

Carl Konadu BEM (28),for supporting and empowering young people (CEO and co-founder of 2-3 Degrees as a youthled start up); Rhammel Afflick BEM (26), Community for work in London, including Director of Comms for PRIDE (Comms lead at the British Youth Council); Alex Anderson BEM (20) for charity work/raising awareness and challenging labels of young people on the Autism Spectrum ASD (Air Cadet) and Samah Khalil BEM (20) Young Mayor of Oldham, youthvoice, participation and representation.

Amika George MBE (at 21 the youngest in this group) and  Clegg Bamber MBE (25) for their period poverty campaigns; Race equality campaigner Raheem Sterling MBE* (26); Covid equipment innovator Rhys Mallows BEM (25); and Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson BEM (27)  for services to young people. Who else? See us a message. (*Of course Raheem is a famous footballer, but like Marcus Rashford MBE in 2020, he is included in this list for his community work.


 Young Voices Heard Resolutions / Campaigns, championed by James since 2017 

    1. To campaign for a FT Youth Minister and Youth Policy Advisory Panel, to develop and coordinate Youth Strategy and policy.
    2. To encourage more young people to apply and be appointed as Trustees/Directors, and for Boards to recruit/include them as normally as they would any other demographic or minority that adds value to governance, for their skills, perspective and network rather than their tokenistic representation. The stats are poor and hardly changed over the last 15 years.
    3. To challenge stereotypical and ill-informed attitudes towards young people that block their potential to contribute to society as active citizens. From voting to volunteering, as doers, decision-makers, campaigners and representatives, young people have skills, networks and energy that could add value to communities, boardrooms and even parliament. Lets listen, work with and invest in young people.