Josh, 18, defies life fraught with problems to win top award

Eighteen-year-old Josh Sheppard, the Mansfield winner of the 2018 Outstanding Achievement 4Uth Award. Picture: Ian Dearman Photography.
Eighteen-year-old Josh Sheppard, the Mansfield winner of the 2018 Outstanding Achievement 4Uth Award. Picture: Ian Dearman Photography.

A teenager from Meden Vale has won a prestigious award after defying a host of personal obstacles in his life to become a role model in his community.

Josh Sheppard has been diagnosed with dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and hypoglycemia, or low blood-sugar, which all prevent him doing many of the things he wants to do.

At the age of 13, he lost his father, whom he had been helping to care for as he battled motor neurone disease. And after being diagnosed with anxiety, feelings of depression are never far away.

But somehow, Josh, who is now 18, overcame all these problems. His confidence and resilience grew, he gained a distinction at school and he determinedly sat his GCSE exams.

What’s more, he is holding down a full-time job at Asda in Forest Town and plays a leading role in the planning of activities at a youth club near where he lives.

Now he has been named as the Mansfield winner in Nottinghamshire County Council’s Outstanding Achievement 4Uth Awards, which are designed to recognise the extraordinary efforts of young people.

Josh, who lives at home with mum Claire and stepdad Sean, was nominated by youth workers Geoff Vincent and Ian Bradley.

Geoff said: “Josh is now a very focused young man who has not let things get to him. He is very deserving of this award.”

Proud mum Claire said: “It is absolutely amazing that Josh has won. The 4Uth award is a fantastic achievement for a young lad, and we are so delighted because he is a very loving and considerate son.”