A PAPERBOY who went out of his way to help the residents on his round and a schoolgirl who set up a bus stop 'swap shop' have been crowned Young Neighbours of the Year.

Tyler Dickinson, 17, a Darlington College student and Emily Pierson, ten, a pupil at Michael Syddall Primary School in Catterick Village received the accolades from the Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch awards scheme.

Read more: How the North East reacted as Boris Johnson ordered the very first Covid lockdown

Tyler was praised for offering to help residents in his community through his paper route.

During the Covid lockdown, he spent hours handwriting slips of paper with his phone number and a small bit of information, offering help and assistance to the people he delivered newspapers to.

The Northern Echo: Emily Pierson, ten, with her award at the bus stop swap shop in Catterick VillageEmily Pierson, ten, with her award at the bus stop swap shop in Catterick Village

Many people on his round were elderly, so Tyler offered to pay for their weekly papers as they were too scared to go to the shop in person due to the risk of contracting Covid-19.

Tyler said: “I am so happy to have won the Young Neighbour of the Year Awards - it was such a surprise!

"I love my community and I wanted to help wherever possible, especially over the last couple of years since the start of the pandemic.

"I’m so glad that I could help people who needed it, even if it was only small.’’

Emily was recognised for the tremendous impact her Catterick Village Bus Stop Swap Shop has generated. 

Read more: The heartbreaking number of North East lives claimed by Covid

The bus stop shop, which was started during the pandemic to swap toys and games, has raised thousands of pounds, with proceeds going to different charities every month.

So far, she has raised over £19,000 through various fundraising activities, with more in the pipeline. 

The swap shop has a popular and active Facebook page with offers and requests posted every day, linking local people and publicising events as well as advertising a small food bank in the bus shop.

The Northern Echo: Tyler Dickinson, a student at Darlington CollegeTyler Dickinson, a student at Darlington College

Over the months, the swap shop has grown to become a lively village project that is widely used and supported by many. 

Emily said: "Some people come every day because they love it and lots of people have said thank you to us for setting it up."

Charles Offord, managing director of Co-op Insurance, said: “The number of entries we received this year was amazing to see.

"It’s clear that so many young people are doing great things as neighbours, and Tyler and Emily really stood out and can be very proud of the work they have accomplished.

"It was heart-warming to read their story and all the incredible acts of kindness of young people all over the UK.”


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