Lincolnshire youngster honoured with top award at Crufts

Emily Dabb. Credit Paige Jepson

Dog loving 18-year-old Emily Dabb from Grimsby, Lincolnshire has won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Young Person of the Year award at Crufts 2024 on Sunday 10 March.

Emily has been a member of the Brigg Muttley Crew flyball team since 2018, and this year competed as part of the YKC Flyball team at Crufts, where, as the oldest handler on the team, has proved to be an inspirational role model to the younger members of the team. She has also spent a lot of time persevering with training her rescue Border Collie, Dolly. Emily has tried numerous training techniques and recently managed to successfully compete with her.
Proud Emily said: “It’s amazing to win! I couldn’t have asked of anything better with my dog, it’s been a really difficult journey – Dolly’s a rescue and really nervous. We’ve spent years and years of trying but finally, we eventually got into flyball.”
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 for the prestigious award which celebrates the hardworking, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers. Each category winner was invited to Crufts 2024 for the award ceremony following a public vote to decide the overall YKC ­Young Person of the Year award.
The category winners were:
• Compassion Award – Amèlie Smith, aged 15, from Derbyshire
• Personal Achievement Award – Poppy Coleby, aged 18, from Northumberland
• Sporting Talent Award – Gemma MacKenzie, aged 14, from Great Midlothian
• Inspiring Others Award – Emily Dabb, aged 18 from Lincolnshire
For over 39 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.
Helen Kerfoot, Crufts Show Manager, commented: “Congratulations to Emily for winning this year’s YKC Young Person of the Year award. She is a real credit to her friends, family and community, and we are so proud to have her as a Young Kennel Club member.
“Well done to all of our inspirational finalists and to all our deserving YKC members who were nominated this year. So much of their time, dedication and hard work is put into helping the lives of dogs, for which they should be commended.” 
The category winners were each invited to Crufts 2024 on Sunday 10 March for a special presentation ceremony in the YKC ring. As well as being crowned YKC Young Person of the Year, The Kennel Club Educational Trust awarded Emily £350 to help progress her love of dogs, while the other three category winners were awarded £100.

To find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please contact the YKC team by emailing the


or visit The Kennel Club Website