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05 November 2019

Presenting Newmarket’s Community Future Champion: Emily Eaton: schoolgirl, fundraiser, volunteer and Girlguide Leader.

An inspirational force within her community

My name is Emily Eaton. I’m 15 and have always lived in Haverhill, near Newmarket. I am a local Ranger and Brownie Young Leader with Girlguiding. I have been in Guiding since I was eight and have loved it ever since.

My headteacher at Castle Manor Academy, Vanessa Whitcombe nominated me for this award for my fundraising and volunteering, in particular at The Meadows Care Home in Haverhill, where I have spent evenings and weekends as a Dementia Befriender with the charity Young People of the Year (YOPEY). Vanessa’s entry kindly said: “She is an exceptional young lady and we are very proud of her.”

An amazing prize to win

I was awarded the Community Future Champion award by Newmarket Racecourse, who asked their social media followers to nominate local young people for this ahead of Dubai Future Champions Day. Newmarket gave me and my family a day at the races to celebrate.

Emily Eaton Newmarket's Community Future Champion - Racecard Advert
Newmarket Racecourse placed an advert in their racecard to celebrate Emily’s achievements in the local community

Wow, my day at the races was amazing! Despite the rain, we were greeted with a warm welcome and smiles all round. We spoke with Chris Burton (Regional Marketing Executive) about the racecard advert and were kindly given six copies to take home. We then discussed the plan for the rest of the day, where to meet and where our Premier tickets would allow us access. We had a wander around to get a feel for the place as none of my family had been before. After having a quick coffee and cookies to warm up in the cafe, we met with Chris and the racecourse staff again to go down to the area where a statue was being unveiled. The statue was of Lester Piggott and there were some junior jockeys and even Frankie Dettori was there to do the actual unveiling!

A great initiative for young people and a first experience

I gave an interview about my community work and was asked lots of questions about how I got into it and how I juggle it with schoolwork. It was very surreal to hear my voice being projected all over the racecourse. We were then free to go and watch the racing and get lunch, as the official bit of the day was done. We found a noodle bar (my favourite) and mum and dad got something from the sausage van. Then the races were starting so we went and watched a few. It was super exciting as I had never been to the races before.

I think it is great that Newmarket Racecourse recognise local Community Future Champions because young people will then feel as if their hidden work is being recognised. People work towards different awards and qualifications that they can gain by doing community work, but to be recognised because someone else thinks you deserve it is such a good feeling.

I think I was awarded the Community Future Champion award because I do a lot of community work, but I do it because I want to, rather than for any award or recognition. I have never looked for any recognition when I have been volunteering. I have gained a few qualifications with my Girlguiding volunteering, but they mainly came about due to the number of hours I had put in.

I want others to feel as special

I hope that Newmarket Racecourse continue the Community Future Champions awards next year, as I want someone else to feel as special and have that satisfaction of being recognised for the work they do, in the same way I did.

I certainly feel that more people and a much wider community of people are aware of my Guiding life and other community work I do since winning the award. It has made me feel as if people that I might not even know or someone I wouldn’t think of, recognises the work I do and how special it is to be a volunteer.

Since winning the award I have started fundraising for my next Girlguiding International trip to the European Jamboree in Poland next summer. I have to fundraise £1,300 so it will certainly keep me busy alongside my regular Brownie Young Leader role. I want to thank the Racecourse very much for picking me as the winner and hope to work with them in the future.

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