Young Adventurers Awards 2015

Cream of the crop climb to the top as YAA 2015 winners are announced

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On Saturday 10 October, six months after we launched our search for the UK's most adventurous young people, the winners of this year's awards were announced at the University of Derby's Oaklands Manor Outdoor Pursuit Centre in Buxton.

The awards were run to recognise youngsters who excel at adventure sports and push boundaries to reach their potential. 

The day started with all nominees taking part in challenging activities with our Outdoor team. The four groups of finalists were led in challenging high-ropes and crate stack activities by our first and second year students, which proved the youngsters' courage and fearless dedication to outdoor adventure.

The ceremony

After lunch, Professor Nick Draper, Head of Department of Life Sciences, thanked all the nominees and their families for attending the event and congratulated them on their achievements.

Professor Draper said: "It is great to see so many enthusiastic young adventurers being nominated and recognised for their adventures."

Shauna Coxsey

Nick then introduced guest speaker, and two time World Cup gold medal winning climber, Shauna Coxsey.

At just 22 years old, Shauna is a veteran adventurer whose love of climbing came from watching French free climber Catherine Destiville, who inspired her to take up the sport. Since taking up the sport, Shauna has developed her skills and advanced to professional level, becoming the first British woman to climb V12, V13, and V14.

Shauna spoke to the group about the highs and lows of her own experiences, also revealing the necessity of a strong team of supporters to aid success, including coaches and sports massage therapists. She also offered the youngsters some inspiring advice: "If you can dream it, you can do it."


Next came the presentation of the awards. We were delighted to welcome our new Vice-Chancellor, Kathryn Mitchell, to the event, and she proudly presented this year's winners with their awards.

Heather Heslop was named the winner of the Junior Adventurer of the Year (7-11) award, while Hannah Saville won the Adventurer of the Year (12-17) award.

The Derbyshire Adventurer of the Year was Helen Thornhill, and the winners of the Team of the Year award were High Peak Athletics Club. All were delighted to have won.

As well as an engraved trophy, the winners of each category received a GoPro HERO4 Session Camera to help document their future adventures.

The winners had been chosen by an expert judging panel that included Dr Chris Bussell, Dean of the College of Life and Natural Sciences at the University of Derby; Adam Evans, an outdoor leadership and personal development coach, lecturer and guide; Mark Sears, Chief Wild Officer of The Wild Network, and Co-Director of Derbyshire Sport, Hayley Lever.

All four judges said how amazed they were by the level of talent, drive, and perseverance shown by our finalists.


Click through to our Flickr to see more images from the day.