England's youngest high achievers


For many, young adulthood is a time of tentatively finding your place in the world, sleeping late, partying hard and not becoming a mayor. But as Terrence Smith bucks the trend and assumes the chain of office for Goole, East Yorkshire, at the tender age of 19, BBC News looks at other young high-achievers.

The politicians

Terence Smith is one of a cavalcade of young people with an interest in running the country. And Mr Smith is dedicated to the cause, displaying a sensible approach to his future.

"When the A-level results came out last year, my friends were out partying," he says. "I was in a council meeting."

Formerly deputy mayor at the age of 18, when he popped up alongside Jo Brand in her Hell of a Walk for Sport Relief, he has the experience to make his appointment a success.

His father Tom is even tipping him for the top, cheerily predicting: "Next stop Number 10!"

But Mr Smith junior has serious competition in the youth politics world. Liam Miller 18, is the youngest ever commissioner for the Isle of Man and 18-year-old Jade Marie Morgan is Preston's youngest councillor.

The author

Daisy Ashford wrote her novella, The Young Visiters, about the upper-class society of late 19th Century England, in 1890, when she was nine.

It was published with a subtitle of Mr Salteena's Plan, complete with her spelling and punctuation mistakes - hence "visiters" - and each chapter was written as a single paragraph.

JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, wrote a preface for it, and it was so successful it was printed 18 times in its first year.

Its success led to rumours Barrie was actually the author, rather than a nine-year-old girl.

The dressmaker

Jade Earley, 18, is the youngest ever competitor on BBC programme The Great British Sewing Bee. A competitive swimmer stymied by injury, Ms Earley sews shirts for her dad, dresses for her sister and tutus for her dogs.

Like Terence Smith, she's not one for the night life, and says she prefers sewing to nights out clubbing. She does most of her sewing in a log cabin in Uckfield, East Sussex.

The armed officer

Image copyright PA

PC Francesca Gavin became the country's youngest serving firearms officer in 2015 at the age of 19.

She is now with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which is an armed police service which protects the civil nuclear industry across 14 sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

PC Gavin is stationed at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The British Empire Medal recipient

Jonjo Heuerman, 14, from Dartford, Kent, became the youngest recipient of the British Empire Medal in May 2016 in recognition of his charity fundraising.

He has raised more than £250,000 for Cancer Research UK with a series of walks and bike rides and wears a waistcoat covered in the names of family friends and supporters who died from the disease.

Jonjo says on the day he collected the honour he was "quite nervous, quite shy".

"I didn't want to look up at the Lord Lieutenant and start crying because of how proud I was.

"But the Lord Lieutenant actually complimented me on my waistcoat. It was a really good day."

The cricketer

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In 2005, 15-year-old Holly Colvin became England's youngest Test cricketer (of either gender) and her first contribution was to help win the Women's Ashes for the first time in 42 years.

Was it a dream of hers? No.

She says: "If I'm honest, by the time I realised it was a possibility I was making my debut at 15. I'd only seen England play an international for the first time the year before."

She describes her Ashes debut as "a little bit of a freak incident" as she was practising in the nets at Hove, was spotted and - on the basis of her performance - was immediately selected for the England team.

Now retired, she spent some time spreading awareness about Aids in Africa, working for the charity Cricket Without Boundaries.

The cyclist

Tom Davies was 19 when he became the youngest person to cycle round the world - an 18,000-mile journey.

When other school-leavers were tuk tuk-ing around Thailand in harem pants, Mr Davies was getting on his saddle for up to 100 miles a day and raising more than £50,000 for charity.

During the six months he was away, he was chased by dogs in Albania and had a race with an emu in Australia.

When he arrived back home in Battersea, south London, he said: "It's amazing to finish."

The climber

Cycling round the world, while gruelling, at least offers the chance to see a few sunny places. But that did not interest 10-year-old Ollie Buckle, who decided to climb a sea stack off Scotland's north coast.

Master Buckle, from Flax Bourton, near Bristol, made the 450ft (140m) ascent of The Old Man of Hoy in May, beating the record of then 11-year-old Leo Houlding.

Ollie says being on top of the rocky pole was "amazing" and made him "feel like he could do anything", which is good news for any upcoming SATs tests.

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