Brave Laura nominated for top national award

Laura Tombs, who has been nominated for a top national award for helping to bring in 2M in donations to a charity.

Laura Tombs, who has been nominated for a top national award for helping to bring in 2M in donations to a charity.

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A young woman from Burnley, who has overcome major obstacles in her life, including abuse, anxiety and depression, is just one of three in the UK to be nominated for a top award.

Laura Tombs (26) will compete in the national final of the Young Ambassador of the Year awards, after winning the North West title.

The TK Maxx and Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards are now in their 13th year and recognise disadvantaged young people who have overcome issues such as abuse, drug addiction, homelessness, depression and unemployment.

The glittering finals will be held at the London Palladium with hosts, top TV personalities Ant and Dec.

Laura was nominated for the award after clinching the North West BAE Systems Young Ambassador title.

Laura was 12 when she began suffering from emotional and sexual abuse. The abuse carried on for years and by the age of 14, she was suffering with anxiety and depression, and began self-harming. Feeling she had no-one to turn to, Laura’s life became a web of secrets.

Hoping for a fresh start, Laura moved to college to study musical theatre but at 16 her life changed forever when she was raped by a stranger. Laura subsequently became very ill with anorexia and her health deteriorated rapidly.

But she pulled herself back to health and it was during her recovery she heard about the Prince's Trust programme that builds the confidence and employability prospects of unemployed young people so she decided to give it a go.

It took guts for her to take part, but she thrived in the environment and went on to complete three more subsequent Prince’s Trust programmes. She went on a Prince’s Trust programme, which gives disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to change their lives for the better, and two more confidence building programmes called Get Started.

Sharing her story in a way that never failed to move her audience, Laura has been courageous in telling her story and has helped to secure £2.2 million in donations for The Trust.

Laura now works for a mental health training charity and has also developed a training programme for professionals around eating disorders. She is also studying health and social care at college.

Elizabeth Galton, Creative Director at award sponsors Mappin and Webb said: "She has tirelessly volunteered her time, shared her personal experiences and inspired others"