A 16-year-old girl from Tiverton, Devon, who saved her local BMX team, is the first-ever young winner of a new volunteering award.
Against the odds, Molly Pattison overcame illness and ensured the survival of her BMX team so that other young people could continue to enjoy their passion for cycling.
Molly is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers; people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day someone across the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
The new award has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in America. Established by President George H. W. Bush, it has recognised over 5,000 individuals and has the support of President Barack Obama.
Whether it’s a plumber regenerating local parkland, a teenager setting up a new cancer campaign, a Scout leader turning round the lives of hundreds of young people, or a Mum engaging the community to care for its neighbours, the Point of Light award will honour shining examples of volunteering across England.
In 2013, when Molly was 14, she was diagnosed with acute demyelination, which affected her balance and meant she was unable to ride her bike. Instead, she got involved with British Cycling’s Award for Young Volunteers, helping out in all areas of her local BMX club. When she heard that the organisers of the team were retiring, Molly was determined to keep the team running so that young people in her area could continue to enjoy racing.
At just 15 years of age, Molly set up her own team, ‘Revolution Racing’. She sought the help of sponsors and raised enough money through fundraising to cover the team’s running costs. The team is now full of young people enjoying an activity that wouldn’t be available if it wasn’t for Molly.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Despite her illness and the blow of not being able to race, Molly didn’t give up. Instead, she channelled her passion into setting up her own team so that others could continue to enjoy the sport. I am delighted to be recognising Molly as the first young winner of a Point of Light award.”
Molly said: “It was a bit of a shock to get this award – I really didn’t expect it. I don’t feel like I am putting myself out to volunteer, it just comes naturally. But it’s really nice to know that people appreciate the work that I do.
“British Cycling has really helped me, and the opportunities that they have opened up for me to develop myself as a volunteer and as a person have been phenomenal. The most important thing for me is that it has helped to build my confidence. People do take me seriously; I’m listened to, my voice is heard, and my suggestions are taken on board.”
Find out more here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/points-of-light-awards