Young Person of the Year award

2024 Winner - Emily Dabb. Credit: Paige Jepson

Our annual award is the chance to celebrate young people who are transforming the lives of others. We are looking to recognise young people going above and beyond or overcoming huge challenges to demonstrate their love of dogs, and encourage others to become a part the dog world. They could be giving up their time to mentor other young people, training dogs, fundraising or campaigning. Whatever they are doing, they have one thing in common – a desire to make a difference and improve the lives of dogs.

Shaun McAlpine Memorial Trophy

The overall winner of the Young Kennel Club Young Person of the Year award will be presented with the Shaun McAlpine Memorial Trophy. 

The award has been presented at Crufts for over 39 years by Ed and Cindy McAlpine. The award is in memory of Shaun, who tragically died two weeks after his 22nd birthday in November 1984.

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, competing at Crufts on many occasions.

Roll of honour
  • 2024 - Emily Dabb
  • 2023 -  Izzy King 
  • 2022 - 
  • 2021 - Lewis Garstang
  • 2020 - Ryan Hennessy
  • 2019 - Paige Jepson
  • 2018 - Lauren Ashby
  • 2017 - Daisy Buckland
  • 2016 - Charlotte-Louise Page
  • 2015 - Oliver Beckett
  • 2014 - Ryan Ross
  • 2013 - Jessica Ward
  • 2012 - Kian Pellow
  • 2011 - Alice Moodie
  • 2010 - Chelsea Hickford
  • 2009 - Linzi Follet
  • 2008 - Joshua Griffin
  • 2007 - Georgina Ferguson
  • 2006 - Stephanie Lansdell
  • 2005 - Chantelle Prior
  • 2004 - Jodie Harrison
  • 2003 - Rachel Buckwell
  • 2002 - Amy Holmes
  • 2001 - Adam Rose
  • 2000 - Jodie Harrison
  • 1999 - Adrian Marett
  • 1998 - Defrel Owen
  • 1997 - Donna-Elena Hardwicke
  • 1996 - Phillippa Noble
  • 1995 - Dona-Elena Hardwicke

2024 awards

Young Person of the Year Overall Winner

Voting has closed for the 'Young Person of the Year' and the Overall Winner was announced in the YKC Ring at Crufts 2024. Congratulations to 'Inspiring Others' Award Winner – Emily Dabb

You can find out more about all of the YKC category winners below. The Kennel Club Educational Trust will be awarding £100.00 to all category winners then £250.00 for the final overall winner.

Young Person of the Year & Inspiring Others Award Winner – Emily Dabb

Inspiring Others Award Winner – Emily Dabb | Young Kennel Club

Emily is a member of the Brigg Muttley crew flyball team and has box loaded for the adult team for the last few years. This year she has passed the honours on so that she can run a dog herself in the YKC team alongside her sister.  Emily is a great role model to the younger members of the team. She is always smiling, happy and she loves her dogs. She also keeps calm and collected under pressure which is reassuring to the other young members. She is willing to do all of the roles within the flyball team and will help whenever asked. Emily also has spent her time and dedication, perseverance with her border collie Dolly.
Dolly is a rescue and she has been a difficult dog to train. Emily has tried numerous training techniques and has recently managed to successfully compete with Dolly running consistently. They are an inspiration as many people would have given up at the first hurdle but Emily’s dedication to Dolly has meant they are now both enjoying the sport together.

Personal Achievement Award Winner - Poppy Coleby

Personal Achievement Award Winner - Poppy Coleby | Young Kennel Club

During the last two years Poppy has been diagnosed with Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunctions/dysautonomia, POTS (Postural Tachycardia syndrome) Vasovagal Syncope and Ehlos Danlos Syndrome. The Autonomic Nervous System controls systems in the body that we don’t consciously think about such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and temperature regulation. Having autonomic nervous system dysfunction means Poppy’s body has trouble regulating these systems, which causes Poppy to have several medical conditions such as an abnormal heart rate, high blood pressure, dilation and constriction of the pupils in her eyes and her body cannot control her body temperature. Poppy can spike temperatures of 39+ on a daily basis and suffers from repeated hot flushes or an abnormally low temperature. She has an abnormally fast heart rate ( Pots) regular dizzy spells, brain fog, blurred vision and she is prone to fainting ( Vasovagal Syncope). A flare up can last anywhere from minutes to days or weeks. Poppy has also been diagnosed with Ehlos Danlos Syndrome, which is a degenerative connective tissue disorder. Poppy gets a lot of pain in her joins and has frequent joint dislocations because her connective tissues do not hold her joints in place as they should and so they become very unstable. Despite all the diagnosis and the terrible symptoms she has to live with and manage Poppy has bounced back and shown so much resilience. She is so devoted to her dogs and has such a passion for dog agility. This is Poppy’s third time at Crufts with her Cockapoo ‘Jackson- ‘Jump to it’ and collie ‘Sky’ - ‘DarleyFalls Sky’s the Limit’ ‘Poppy and Sky also attended the Para Agility World Championships in Italy and won a silver medal. Poppy is a prime example of hidden disabilities because she looks like a healthy teenager yet very few people know the reality and extent of her ill health and the symptoms she has to manage. A true inspiration to people in that when she’s been faced with adversity she has coped remarkably well.

Compassion Award Winner – Amélie Smith

Compassion Award Winner – Amélie Smith | Young Kennel Club

Amélie has a very special relationship with her younger sister, who has complex special needs. Amélie has not only been an adoring older sister but also plays an undeniably important role in her sister's life as a carer. Amélie's unwavering willingness to help and care for her sister is something her parents are in awe of. When most teenagers would find it a challenge and understandably would rather be doing other typical teenage things, Amélie is always there for her sister in so many ways, always willingly and always with love. Amélie is someone her sister knows she can trust implicitly purely because of the level of compassion Amélie’s parents are aware this caring role and  can be burden on such young shoulders, which is where Amélie's hobby comes in. About 2 years ago Amélie began helping out at our local ringcraft club, bringing a fresh perspective to training. She brings a quiet confidence to the training classes, and knowledge formed from many years in the showring herself. Never one to turn down a challenge, she has held extra training classes for those interested in sharpening up their handling, compiling hand outs for delegates and training sheets for club members. She treats everyone and their dogs with a gentle respect that defies her tender years. She rarely misses a week, is there to help set up before the start and tidy up at the end. She has helped with several seminars, Points of the Dog, Conformation and Movement, Ring Stewarding, and helped organise and run the members limit shows  She is a valued member of the training club.

Sporting Talent winner- Gemma MacKenzie

Sporting Talent winner- Gemma MacKenzie | Young Kennel Club

Since starting showing in December 2022, Gemma has shown outstanding dedication to her dogs and her new found dog sports (including handling, grooming, breed showing).

A staunchly committed individual Gemma schedules her own regular training sessions be it formal show training; obedience; agility; trick training, she is constantly interacting with and having fun with her dogs.

Gemma has a magical innate understanding of dogs and they bond instantly. Her natural handling ability has seen her amass a number of awards including Championship show group win; RCCs; numerous handling class wins and placings with her own dogs and new breeds including Flatcoated Retriever; Hungarian Viszla; PBGV and others. She has also qualified for YKC handling and grooming at Crufts 2024; and the Scottish Junior Handler of the Year final (for her 2nd time).

Above all this Gemma is just a wonderful young lady, she is kind and compassionate to all, has become a loyal friend and supporter to her peers in the dog show world, and has a great sense of humour to which helps keep everyone in good spirits.

Find out more about the five categories

Personal Achievement Award - Celebrating young people who have overcome personal challenges with their dog as well as the skills they have developed to achieve success in 2023.

Sporting Talent Award - Celebrating young people who show real passion and dedication for competing or training their dog/s in 2023.

Inspiring Others Award
- Celebrating young people and their dogs who, through their positive attitude and inspirational approach, have proved to be a good role model in 2023.

Compassion Award - Celebrating young people who dedicate their time volunteering to help others and gone over and above what would be expected of them in 2023.

Community Award - Celebrating young people who show commitment and passion through social action – fundraising, campaigning, activities at school, college or community for the welfare of dogs in 2023.