Covid-19: Lowestoft teen wins award for pandemic response

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image copyrightChili Tozer
image captionAward judges described Chili Tozer, 14, as "inspirational"

A teenager who made 1,500 facemasks to raise funds to help young people's mental health has been nationally recognised for her "impassioned response" to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chili Tozer, from Lowestoft, Suffolk was crowned the overall winner of the World Changer Awards.

She helped fund counselling sessions for young people struggling with their well-being during lockdown.

The 14-year-old said she hoped to raise more awareness of mental health issues.

Judges for the awards, a UK-wide initiative from learning company Pearson, were looking for "inspiring children and young people across Britain who are sparking positive change in the world beyond the classroom".

Chili was named as both World Changer of the Year and the winner of the Business and Technology category for her "impassioned response to the Covid-19 pandemic".

image copyrightChili Tozer
image captionChili made 1,500 masks to raise money for mental health charity Inspire Suffolk

She taught herself to use an electric sewing machine during lockdown with help from her grandmother via FaceTime.

She then created and sold the colourful facemasks, raising £4,000 for the mental health charity Inspire Suffolk.

image copyrightChili Tozer
image captionChili taught herself to sew with help from her grandmother over FaceTime

The teenager, a pupil at Notre Dame High School in Norwich, said she was "very proud" to have won the award and dedicated it to the memory of her cousin Harley Snowling, who took his own life earlier this year.

She said: "I have seen first-hand the impact mental health issues can have on young people and their loved ones.

"I have been committed to making a difference and raising awareness on this important issue - my facemasks were just the start of this.

"I hope winning this award will bring more awareness for young people suffering with their mental health."

Chantel Carpenter, from Pearson and one of the award judges, said Chili was an "inspiration" and "defines what a world changer is all about".

Inspire Suffolk said Chili's support had enabled the charity to reach more young people who were in crisis and was "invaluable" in raising awareness.

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