998. Junior Frood
Junior Frood, aged 14 from Leeds, is the UK freestyle street dance champion and is using his talent to campaign against bullying and encourage more boys to get involved in the sport.
Junior’s response to being bullied at school for his love of dancing was to launch an anti-bullying social media campaign #BoysCanDance and to work with the Diana Award as a schools ambassador, empowering young people to stand up to bullies and be themselves. Emboldened by the positive response he received, Junior began performing for charities close to his heart including ‘Martin House Hospice’, where he runs dance workshops for adults and children with disabilities and life-limiting illnesses. He has raised over £300,000 for the hospice and other charities, supporting seriously ill children through his performances, and earlier this year became Youth Ambassador for ‘Children’s Heart Surgery Fund’ who support poorly babies, children and adults being treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.
In a personal letter to Junior, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You are using your phenomenal dancing talent to spread an important message and empower other young people to stand up to bullies and do what they love. You should be very proud that the money you raise with your dance performances is supporting such important causes to continue their work.”
Sharon Milner, CEO of ‘Children’s Heart Surgery Fund’ said:
“We feel very lucky to have Junior as our Youth Ambassador, and are thrilled he has received such a prestigious award. He is a firm favourite with our patients and their families, inspiring positive energy wherever he goes.”
“My charity work means so much to me and I love knowing that I have helped people and made them smile. To receive this award makes me so proud, mainly as it gives awareness and highlights the charities that I have helped. I can’t thank you enough for this honour, it really does mean so much to me.”
Below: Junior with his award and the team at ‘Children’s Heart Surgery Fund’