Kent youngster honoured with top award at Crufts
Dog loving 17-year-old Izzy King from Maidstone, Kent has won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Young Person of the Year award at Crufts 2023 on Sunday 12 March.
In 2020, Izzy was diagnosed with a vascular malformation tumour, for which she is still undergoing treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Not only affecting her physical health, the diagnosis had a huge impact on her mental health, and also resulted in her missing 60% of school time. Despite all these setbacks, Izzy passed all of her GCSEs and is currently studying A Levels, with the ultimate career goal of opening her own canine photography studio.
Izzy has been helped through her illness by MIND, and in 2021 she ran an online dog show, raising £2,100 for the charity to say thank you.
Proud Izzy said: “It is such an honour to win. The fact that this was voted for by the public is really nice, it makes me feel like I am supported by people after they have read my story.
“It was really scary when I was diagnosed with vascular malformation because everything was normal and then, all of a sudden, everything just went downhill, but I am very proud to have completed my GCSEs, and I have been studying for my A Levels alongside my treatment.
“I’ve been coming to Crufts for several years and it is still lovely to come every time.”
The YKC Young Person of the Year award is one of the highest levels of achievement for young people who are passionate about dogs and recognises those who are going above and beyond to help transform the lives of others, as well as encouraging their peers to make a difference with the help of their canine friends.
The YKC was inundated with nominations, across five categories, for the prestigious award which celebrates the hardworking, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers. Each category winner was invited to Crufts 2023 for the award ceremony following a public vote to decide the overall YKC Young Person of the Year award.
The category winners were:
- Community Award – Jessie Harrison, aged 11, from West Midlands
- Personal Achievement Award – Izzy King, aged 17, from Kent
- Sporting Talent Award – Ryan Feehan, aged 14, from Great Yarmouth
- Compassion Award – Faith Elkins, aged 10 from Devon
- Inspiring Others Award – Emer Wright, aged 24 years old from Ireland
For over 35 years, the Shaun McAlpine Trophy has been presented to the winner of the award at Crufts, in memory of Ed and Cindy McAlpine’s son who was tragically killed in a car accident aged 22. Shaun had himself achieved considerable success as a dog handler.
Previous winners of the competition have been selected for their volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, helping organise dog activities in the local community, and assisting others through training, stewarding and mentoring.
Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, commented: “Congratulations to Izzy for winning this year’s YKC Young Person of the Year award. She is a real inspiration to many other dog lovers around the UK, and a very well-deserved winner.
“Well done to all of our finalists and to our other YKC members who were nominated this year. They truly deserve the recognition for all of their hard work, time and dedication that they put into helping the lives of dogs, and should be so proud of themselves.”
The category winners were each invited to Crufts 2023 on Sunday 12 March for a special presentation ceremony in the YKC ring where they each received an exclusive ambassador’s badge and award. As well as being crowned YKC Young Person of the Year, there was a prize fund of up to £750 which will be used towards helping Izzy progress her love of dogs.