Suffolk youngster honoured with top award at Discover Dogs

Dog-devotee youngster Lewis Steven Garstang from Suffolk has won the Young Kennel Club (YKC), Young Person of the Year award at Discover Dogs.

Following the tragic loss of his dad in 2018, Lewis took on the training and running of his dogs, Rosie and Willow, in agility. Both rescue dogs, the two have very different behavioural challenges and needs, but 12-year-old Lewis has continued to persevere with their training and has built up a very strong bond with the pair of them. Despite having experienced such a tough time in his life, both dogs continue to bring Lewis a lot of comfort and vice versa.

Proud Lewis said: “I feel extremely happy and shocked that I won this award as all the other nominees had such amazing stories!”

The YKC was inundated with nominations for one of five categories in the prestigious award which celebrates the hardworking, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers. The two winners of each category were invited to The Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event at London ExCeL for the award ceremony, following a public vote to decide the overall YKC Young Person of the Year award.

The category winners were:

• Community Award – Emily Williams, aged 17 from Clwyd and Maria Louise Clark, aged 24 from Kent

• Compassion Award – Rosie Shepherd, aged 24 from Northamptonshire and Millie Youngs, aged 16 from Shropshire

• Personal Achievement Award – Lewis Steven Garstang, aged 12 from Suffolk and Emily Rice, aged 15 from Cambridgeshire

• Creative Talent Award – Isabel Patten, aged 13 from Essex and Rebecca Colley, aged 21 from Nottinghamshire

• Inspiring Others Award – Charlotte Baker, aged 18 from Somerset and Danielle Wilson, aged 12 from Dumfriesshire

The YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award is one of the highest levels of achievement for young dog lovers. For over 30 years Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy to the winner of the award in memory of their son, Shaun. The trophy is awarded annually to encourage young dog lovers to become more involved in dog activities, as Shaun himself had achieved considerable success as a dog handler.

Previous winners of the competition have been selected for their volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, helping organise dog activities in the local community, and assisting others through training, stewarding and mentoring.

Vanessa McAlpine, Events and Youth Development Executive at The Kennel Club commented: “Congratulations to Lewis for winning this year’s YKC Young Person of the Year award. He is a well-deserved winner and is a real inspiration to many other young dog lovers around the UK. Well done to our other nine finalists and to all of our other YKC members who were nominated this year. They truly deserve the recognition for all of their hard work, time and dedication that they put into helping the lives of dogs.”  

The category winners were each invited to Discover Dogs on Saturday 20th November for a special presentation ceremony in the YKC ring where they each received an exclusive ambassador’s badge and award.

Discover Dogs, sponsored by Royal Canin, took place on 20th and 21st November at ExCeL London.

If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join, please contact the Young Kennel Club team by emailing ykc@thekennelclub.org.uk or visit ykc.org.uk.