A ST ALBANS teenager has been nominated for an award recognising outstanding work by young people.

Tara Gibbins-Klein, 14, has been nominated for the Citygate Young People of the Year, an award scheme which is backed by the Prime Minister.

The teenager, of St Vincent Drive, St Albans, has raised more than £1,000 for charity by arranging fundraising events at her school, Dame Alice Owen School in Potters Bar.

She also encouraged fellow pupils to donate more than 40 pairs of shoes to be sent off to orphans in Africa for a Blue Peter appeal.

She said: “I just want to help as much as I can.

“Even though we try and help many different charities through the school, I have always tried to raise money for Epilepsy Action.

“My mum lost two close friends who suffered from epilepsy and I remember what she went through.”

The teenager is in with a chance of winning a share of £3,000 in the competition, which was started three years ago by Tony Gearing, a former national newspaper journalist from Royston, Hertfordshire, who was tired of the bad press young people receive.

Jonathan Robinson, Tara's form tutor, praised her fundraising efforts, saying: “Tara is an absolute star.

“The special thing about Tara is that she has the initiative to set up new things, something other students may not think of. She is a great role model for her classmates and her enthusiasm certainly rubs off on them.”

Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, said: “Sometimes we forget the great majority of young people in Britain today are respectful and active members of their local communities.

“Whether they are running sports teams or other clubs, volunteering, being a good neighbour, or doing their bit for people less fortunate than themselves, there are thousands of young people who deserve our thanks and praise.”

To nominate a young person, aged between ten and 25, visit www.yopey.org for an application form.

Entries for the competition close on 28 February 2009, and an awards ceremony will be held in the spring next year.