Inspirational Uniformed Public Services student presented national award by personal hero Bear Grylls

A Cirencester College student recently received a top award as part of the Good Morning Britain 1 Million Minutes campaign.

Jake Walker, a Uniformed Public Services student, received the Young Champion Award, which is awarded to someone who goes above and beyond in volunteering and helping to raise money. Jake was nominated for the award by the Not Forgotten Charity for all of his fundraising efforts and support he has provided for veterans as a result.

On Thursday 17th December, the awards were live-streamed on Good Morning Britain’s Twitter account. Not only did Jake win the category, but he was also presented his award by his hero, Bear Grylls, which came as a surprise!

Jake said: “I didn’t know I had won, I was told that I had to go to a filming studio to make a film about loneliness and veterans with Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Arnold, who is a patron of the Not Forgotten Association, a charity I support.

While talking to Richard Arnold he asked me if I had an inspirational person that I liked, and I said Bear Grylls as he is a Royal Marine, has a great sense of adventure and we share the same motto ‘Never Give Up’. As I was talking about him Bear Grylls appeared and I was so shocked and star-struck. Bear presented me with my award for the Young Champion and said how proud he was. We talked about the importance of checking on our friends especially the veteran community and the importance of staying fit and the benefits mentally and physically.”

The 1 Million Minutes campaign was launched in early December by Good Morning Britain and now celebrates five years of award-winning success connecting people across the UK to stamp out loneliness. Volunteers can pledge to give time to help the community, in particular those who are suffering from loneliness.

Jake was awarded the Nairac Youth Award earlier in the year, by the Royal Society of St. George. His fundraising efforts include a charity walk from Gloucester to Weston-Super-Mare to raise money for Armed Forces charity, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, and raising money for a memorial stone to be made and laid at a military remembrance garden for Pte Daniel Wade, one of the Warrior Six killed in Afghanistan.

Jake doesn’t plan to stop his fundraising efforts in 2021: “Along with some of the veteran community and Anthony Lock (whose book has inspired me to do more to understand PTSD and mental health) I am planning on doing a big charity fundraiser in 2021. At the moment it’s a secret as we finalise all the details and who knows, maybe Bear Grylls will be supporting or taking part!

For anyone thinking of volunteering, it really is rewarding knowing that you are giving something back and helping people, and it’s a great way to get involved in your community and meet amazing new people.”

For more information please contact mara.west@cirencester.ac.uk.