A 27-year-old young farmer has been given an award for saving a small Young Farmers Club in County Durham after it nearly folded a few years ago.
Katie Sanderson received the most votes for the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs new inaugural award 'The Heart of YFC'.
Katie, from the County Durham Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, was awarded due to her dedication to Elwick YFC and the wider Federation.
The small club nearly folded a few years ago due to a limited number of members.
But Katie’s passion and enthusiasm had encouraged new members to join and thrive in the organisation.
She said: “I am absolutely over the moon. My passion for YFC is in my blood – my grandad was one of the first members of my small club Elwick YFC back in 1933.
"He would be so proud that I have achieved this award – especially as it’s my final year of YFC in membership age."
She recalled that at one point, only herself and her sister were the only people going to club meetings: "It would have been easy to call it a day."
She added: "There was no way I was going to let that happen, especially knowing where the roots of Elwick YFC came from.
"We did a lot of recruitment in the village, at local events and in schools and we proved that you can do it.”
The awards were presented online to the winners during National Young Farmers’ Week.
The initiative recognised the achievements of rural young people during the pandemic and praised the efforts of those who have gone above and beyond in the past 12 months.
Other award categories included the Community Supporter of the Year Award, which was won by Gwyndaf Lewis from Pembrokeshire.
Gwyndaf, who tragically lost his mother to Covid-19 in April this year, went on to raise nearly £40k for the local ICU unit in Carmarthen.
NFYFC Chairman 2020-21 Dewi Parry said it had been a 'challenging year for everyone', particularly due to the pandemic.
"These awards have shown that even in the face of adversity there are still positive acts of kindness, creativity and entrepreneurship being shown by YFCs in our rural communities.
“There are so many inspiring individuals involved in the organisation and the YFC Achiever Awards have really helped to shine a light on them."