Staffordshire youngster honoured with top award at Crufts

Dog loving young adult Paige Jepson from Staffordshire has won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Young Person of the Year award at Crufts 2019, awarded on Sunday March 10.

Having always loved dogs, twenty-one year old Paige Jepson joined the Young Kennel Club over eleven years ago. She currently owns six Border Collies and one Bearded Collie and over the years has competed in most of the disciplines the YKC has to offer. The one she is most passionate about is obedience and currently competes with four dogs. Due to a limited number of young members competing, and to show her support to all clubs that run YKC obedience classes, Paige dedicates her time to training young people in obedience at her local clubs and across the country.

Paige volunteers at many YKC events such as Crufts, Discover Dogs and the East of England and Newark activity weekends, where she helps to set up and run the weekends as well as teaching handling and obedience to all abilities, from beginners to those competing at a high level. All these events have had a major impact on the person Paige has become, whether that be through training her dogs or the social side, and as a result Paige gives her time to others so they can have the same experience.

Proud Paige said: “I’ve only just stopped crying! It’s amazing, I’m so overwhelmed and thrilled to win such a recognisable event.

“Crufts is the highlight of my year, even my employer knows to always let me have time off from work.

“I’m so proud to have helped so many people, I’ve worked with so many young people, I’m at every training day, I volunteer and help as much as I can, and to be recognised for that is so lovely and unexpected and emotional.”

The YKC was inundated with nominations for one of five categories in the prestigious award which celebrates the hardworking, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers. Each category winner was invited to Crufts 2019 for the award ceremony following a public vote to decide the overall YKC ­Young Person of the Year award.

The category winners were:

  • Young Braveheart of the Year – Layla Kececi, aged 14, from London
  • Champion Volunteer of the Year – Imogen Woodman, aged 20, from West Sussex
  • Good Buddy of the Year – Paige Jepson, aged 21, from Staffordshire
  • Sporting Talent of the Year – Lucas Irwin-Burns, aged 16, from Brighton
  • Fundraiser of the Year – Georgie Bearder, aged 13, from Gloucestershire
The YKC Outstanding Young Person of the Year award is one of the highest levels of achievement for young dog lovers. For over thirty years Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy to the winner of the award at Crufts, in memory of their son, Shaun. The trophy is awarded annually to encourage young dog lovers to become more involved in dog activities, as Shaun himself had 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.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, commented: “Congratulations to Paige for winning this year’s YKC Young Person of the Year award. She is a well-deserved winner and we’ve no doubt she will inspire many other young dog lovers around the UK.

“Very well done to all our other finalists as well as all those that were nominated for the Young Person of the Year award. We are so proud to have such gifted and generous members and would encourage any young dog lover to follow in their footsteps.”

The category winners were each invited to Crufts 2019 on Sunday 10th March for a special presentation ceremony in the YKC ring where they each received an exclusive ambassador’s badge and certificate signed by the Kennel Club Chairman, Steve Croxford.

For further information about Crufts visit If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please email the Young Kennel Club team or visit

For free downloadable images from Crufts 2019, please visit