March 7, 2015
Pride of Somerset Youth Award won by Burnham-On-Sea teenager

A Burnham-On-Sea teenager was last night (Friday) presented with a prestigious Pride of Somerset Award.

At the 2015 'Pride of Somerset Youth Awards', run by the Rotary Club, Hannah Bird, 16, was recognised for her voluntary work for Burnham's Food Festivals and as a top class water skier.

She was nominated by the festival's organisers, Beverley and Sarah Milner Simonds, who were in Taunton for the annual ceremony.

Sarah said: "Hannah worked alongside us at the Food and Drink Festival running part of the event with confidence and maturity far beyond her years. Being able to give young people real experience and responsibility running a part of the festival is a really satisfying part of the event for us."

"We want the festival to celebrate all parts of our community and building the confidence of the next generation of young chefs is a foundation stone for us."

"We have also watched with amazement as Hannah has gone from beginner water skier to winning the British Championships and the European Cup Series - she is a great role model to her peers."

Cathy Bird, Hannah's mum, said: "She started water skiing in May 2013 in Lochearnhead and liked it so much she wanted to give a race a go. She entered into Cardiff sprint race after begging/borrowing some kit and to her amazement, won her category. She was hooked and set about getting out on the water as much as the weather and tide allowed."

"She did every British race that year and came second overall. In 2014, she had the bit between her teeth and trained hard during the winter and spring and hit the water stronger and more determined. The plan at that stage was to do all the British nationals and one European race, but ended up do every single European cup race (excluding Austria as she was on her D of E expedition) and got accepted into Team GB for the European Championships."

"This year she won the British Championships, the European Cup Series and came a very close second in the European Championships."

"She has been working very hard this winter, with the national coach and Bath University to ensure she is fighting fit for next season. She has just been awarded a sports grant from British Waterski , which is only available to elite youth athletes to assist them in reaching their goals in the coming season."

Hannah said: "I was really surprised to have won, it was such a great honour to have been nominated. I want to thank Beverley and Sarah for nominating me. It's also great to have received the recognition for my sport too. I am sure that this exposure will help me find a sponsor for the 2015 season."

Pictured: Hannah with her award and in action on the water and, above, with mum Cathy and the Food Festival's Beverley Milner Simonds

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