Huntingdonshire pair in Young People of the Year final

Gymnast Harry O'Driscoll from Buckden, who completes a year sleeping under canvas on August 24

Gymnast Harry O'Driscoll from Buckden, who completes a year sleeping under canvas on August 24 - Credit: Archant

The countdown has begun to the finals of this year’s Linx Young People of the Year competition and another two Huntingdonshire youngsters will be in running at the county-wide awards.

Nicole Wolfe with the baby she helped deliver.

Nicole Wolfe with the baby she helped deliver. - Credit: Archant

The latest pair to make the shortlist are student nurse Nicole Wolfe from Alconbury and Harry O’Driscoll from Buckden.

Nicole, of Woolley Road, helped deliver a baby on only her second day volunteering at an African clinic. She also helped nursery youngsters improve their English and maths.

The 20-year-old was put forward by Liz Tinkler, founder and senior trustee of The Lisa Kent Trust, a Cambridge charity dedicated to providing children of the Gambia with the education they need for a brighter future.

Liz and husband Giles set up the venture after visiting friends in 2001. They saw the plight of the youngsters and felt they had to do something to help. The subsequent charity was named after a family friend who died in a road accident in 2003, aged just 19.

Nicole, who is on a three-year course at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, applied to go out to the Gambia last November when Liz and another trustee, Julia Catley, were going to check on the charity’s work and its 16 staff.

She raised £1,500 for the trip through cake sales, washing cars and sponsorship from family.

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With Liz and Julia, Nicole painted the outside of the Lisa Kent Memorial Nursery School in the village of Sanchaba. When the other two came back to the UK, Nicole stayed to volunteer at the school, working mornings with three to seven-year-olds who had been struggling in lessons and falling behind.

In the afternoon she volunteered at a small hospital nearby, where her nursing skills came in very handy when, on her second day, Nicole helped to deliver a baby boy.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I had the biggest smile on my face. I was very relieved that it was a safe delivery of a happy, healthy baby.”

Nicole was helping until 9pm or later at night. “If somebody needed help Nicole was there,” said Liz.

Harry, 14, spent a year sleeping in a tent his garden in Lincoln Close, Buckden, to raise money for Huntingdon Gym – a venture that raised over £10,000.

Harry is also a scout and it was his scout group, 1st Southoe & Buckden, which taught him how to camp and nominated him for the awards.

He embarked on the challenge to raise money for a new extension for the gym in Mayfield Road, where he trains for over 20 hours a week. Harry slept out every night and even took the tent with him when the family visited friends in Sheffield and Oxford.

His mum Polly said: “Even on Christmas Eve and for his birthday he went back to sleep in the tent. Harry even stayed out in the tent when he was sick. He was determined not to come in so his dad, Lester, slept with him in the tent to make sure he was okay.”

Harry and Nicole are among the 16 young people in the final of Linx Young People of the Year, to be held at Ely Cathedral next Wednesday (October 1).

As well as St Ives-based Linx, sponsors of the event include LifePlus of St Neots.