HRH the Prince of Wales, founder and president of the Trust, joined 2,000 guests - including Tom Hardy, Geri Horner, Rita Ora, Alesha Dixon, Bear Grylls and Dynamo - at a ceremony hosted by Ant & Dec. Shannon, who’s 20, said being there felt surreal. “I can’t thank the Prince’s Trust enough for what they’ve done for me. I hope Prince Charles knows about the difference his charity has made for so many young people.”
The awards, now in their 12th year, recognise disadvantaged young people who have overcome issues such as abuse, drug addiction, homelessness, depression and unemployment.
Tom Hardy, a Trust ambassador, presented Shannon with her trophy. She is now one of three young people nominated for HSBC’s Breakthrough Award, recognising the progress of young people who have developed skills enabling them to face their challenges and stabilise their lives. Ice skater Shannon was hospitalised after a cruel attack, aimed to destroy her career and leave her with horrific injuries. Following a year of mental and physical abuse, Shannon was in despair about her future. She resorted to prescription drugs and alcohol, growing isolated and unwilling to accept help.
She recalls: “I didn’t know how to deal with what had happened. I didn’t dare to care.”
Through her mother she joined a 12-week course the Trust runs to build confidence and employability. Getting up in the morning was a struggle – a side effect of medication. But Shannon felt inspired and enjoyed meeting other participants. She then enrolled on another Trust programme to build confidence and motivation through dance. It relit her passion for skating.
A film she posted of herself skating on Facebook brought the offer of an ice-skating performance job in Spain. With her passport expired, she nearly turned down the chance. But the Trust supported her to secure a grant helping young people to pay for equipment or training they need to get a job. This led to her fast-track passport renewal. Shannon flew to Spain alone and skated in daily shows before large crowds.
Now she’s hoping to land a skating job in Mexico. Simon C Martin of HSBC says: “Shannon can be extremely proud. She’s shown extraordinary resolve.”