A WEEK in the life of 17-year-old Tara Thakkar isn't your average for the life of a teenager.

As a cadet for the St John Ambulance and founder of the London Youth Board, the student from Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith spends most of her free time helping to improve the lives of those around her.

Joining the St John Ambulance just under three years ago, Tara has since been named London's cadet of the year for her first aid work and contribution to the community.

Inspired by her experiences with the UK's leading first aid charity in 2012 she set up the Youth Board, the purpose of which is to improve the community and local area for young people.

The board concentrates on community participation and Tara believes that the activities are beneficial to everyone involved.

She said: “It's a great way to get people out of their houses and doing something positive. I love getting people from different areas and backgrounds involved - I believe they can all benefit from the experience.”

There are currently 14 cadets from across London involved in the board which supports a wide range of initiatives from school fêtes to football matches, but it's most recent endeavour was to host a tea party for elderly people, who Tara believes are often forgotten members of the community.

More than 15 people from across her year at Latymer helped her to host the tea party, and since then three people have enquired about how they can get involved in her other charitable pursuits.

In terms of fitting the activities around school, she gets so much pleasure from them that it's never hard for her.

She said: “There's always a lot of admin to do in the evenings, and it takes up most of my weekends, but it's worth it. For me, the highlight of what I do is seeing the smiles on the faces of the young people going home after a successful session or event, especially when it comes to the Youth Board.”

What's next for Tara aside from her nomination in the Young Achiever category at the upcoming H&F Heroes Awards, ultimately she wants to focus on community participation.

She added: “The best thing about St John is the relationship aspect of it. I would like to expand that into the community.”


BETWEEN achieving top marks at school and playing golf for her country, 15-year-old Emma Norris from Hammersmith is striving to make things better in her local area and beyond.

Last year the GCSE student from Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, took part in the school’s Zumba challenge and was a prominent member of the charity team, raising £200 for New Life Mexico in the process.

Her history of dancing for good causes doesn’t end there as she was involved in a school talent show where each class in her year group put on a show for a charity of their choice, and a few years ago she took part in a campaign to engage disabled children at hospitals and hospices in activities such as learning to dance.

Emma is also a great advocate of her community.

She said: “My favourite thing about it is the great diversity and variety that you find.”

But she recognises that things aren’t perfect, and has some changes she’d like to make.

She said: “If I could change anything about the local community it would be attitudes towards sports at schools, particularly at state schools. It would be great to encourage more people to try out new things”.

She’s already doing a good job of promoting sports to her peers, as she spends much of her time taking part in national and international golf championships.

At school, Emma consistently achieves the highest grades in her year group, gaining perfect marks at every point. Beyond her golfing successes she also sings, having recently performed at the Mahler concert, Royal Festival Hall.

The talented youngster has been nominated in the Young Achiever category at the upcoming H&F Heroes Awards.

Her most recent accomplishment has been winning an award in the prestigious F1 schools competition, which involved designing and engineering an F1 car. For this she will be going to the National Finals and the Chronicle wishes her the best of luck.

Sid’s of 70 Fulham Palace Road, has kindly agreed to donate trophies for the awards.

With more than 20 years of shoe repairs, key cutting, trophies and engraving, as well as locks, grilles and gates.