By Tristan Harris 22/03 Updated: 22/03 16:42
A REDNAL woman who turned her life around after facing difficult health issues and bullying has been honoured by the Prince of Wales.
Kirsty Morris, 22, was one of just three from across the country to be nominated for the SAP Breakthrough Award, which recognises young people who have overcome barriers and learnt new skills.
The accolade was part of a scheme being run by The Prince's Trust and L'Oreal.
At a prestigious awards ceremony at the Leicester Square Odeon last Wednesday (March 14), Kirsty was honoured on stage by HRH The Prince of Wales, actress Keeley Hawes and hosts Ant and Dec, in front of a 1500-strong crowd.
She said: "To be able to meet Prince Charles and celebrities like Adam Deacon was surreal."
Kirsty contracted meningitis at just eight-days-old and died three times during her operation. Although she survived, it meant she was left with a mild form of cerebral palsy and doctors predicted she would not be able to walk or talk.
Despite that, Kirsty worked hard to overcome her challenges and attended school.
The impact of her very low confidence led to her becoming a vulnerable target to bullies and, in retaliation, she got into trouble, feeling hopeless about her life.
After finishing school and continuing into college, Kirsty hoped the bullying would stop and, determined not to let it wreck her education, she completed her studies, feeling hopeful about achieving her ambition of a career in childcare.
But, failing to find permanent employment, her self-belief plummeted again and she was referred to the Prince's Trust Fairbridge programme, aimed at giving young people the skills and confidence they need to change their lives for the better.
Kirsty flourished and even received a bronze arts award for her film work at the Talent Studio.
Kirsty said: "Before I joined the Fairbridge programme I was quite unhappy.
"However, The Prince’s Trust has given me my confidence back and I’m now excited to be moving closer to finding a job in childcare.”
Steve Winter, managing director at SAP UK and Ireland, said Kirsty was a very worthy finalist for the SAP Breakthrough Award category and wished her well for the future.
"The Prince's Trust supports tens of thousands of young people every year and we would like to congratulate Kirsty on getting through to this national ceremony," he added.
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