FOUR Huntingdonshire scouts have earned themselves a nomination for a Young People of the Year (YOPEY) award after a mammoth charity challenge.

FOUR Huntingdonshire scouts have earned themselves a nomination for a Young People of the Year (YOPEY) award after a mammoth charity challenge.

Last December the teenagers jetted 3,000-miles around the globe to the African village of Jiroff in north west Gambia.

Over two exhausting weeks they braved blistering heat and creepy crawlies to build a market garden for the villagers which would enable them to grow their own food and sell it.

Alex Fogg, 18, assistant scout leader with the 1st Fenstanton and Hilton Scouts, told The Hunts Post: “It was tough.

“My hands were full of blisters through hand-mixing cement and picking up the bricks we had made.

“It was back-breaking work especially in the 40-degree heat.”

Each scout had to raise £1,500 to fund the trip which saw them live for three weeks in a scout-centre in Soma, a small market town near the village.

Before they could build the garden they had to clear more than two acres of grazing land and erect 219 logs to hold wire fencing to prevent animals eating the crops.

Eighteen-year-old Louise Harper, of Hollidays Road, Bluntisham, said: “It was blisteringly hot and the ground was rock-solid, so it was hard work digging the holes.

Chloe Taylor, 15, a member of the Nullisecundi Explorer Scout Group in St Ives, added: “It was a very moving experience.

“I’d never seen people living in poor conditions before but they were very happy with what they had and accepted it and lived life to the full.

“They were very grateful for our help.”

Cambridge-based UK Scouts global advisor for Africa, George Devine, accompanied the scouts and praised their achievements: “All of them developed and matured and came back with a different perspective on life and a better understanding of how other people live compared to the affluence they are used to.”

Nominations for this years’ Yopey awards close at the end of August.

If you know of any young, unsung heroes worthy of a nomination visit www.yopey.org