Big-hearted Noah is officially UK's Young Neighbour of the Year

20 December 2021

• 10-year-old from Wylam wins Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch’s national competition after being inspired by his hero Marcus Rashford and his Grandma who helped set up a charity that supports the community

A schoolboy from Wylam in Northumberland has been crowned the UK’s Young Neighbour of the Year by Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch for his unwavering commitment to raising money for those in need.

10-year-old Noah Macdonald, who is a pupil at Ovingham Middle School, was inspired by Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign which aimed to ensure that children from low-income families did not go hungry.

So moved by the campaign and the plight of other children, Noah organised his first charity walk to raise money for Fenham Association of Residents (FAR) and to raise awareness of the issue of food poverty.

FAR, based in Newcastle, aims to break down the social isolation that people on low incomes often experience by providing a range of opportunities for learning and recreational activities, to build self-confidence and develop new skills.

The youngster walked a local eight mile loop twice across one weekend with some of his friends to raise awareness for his campaign. With a homemade t-shirt and badge on his backpack, he stopped to talk to people along the way to let them know what he was doing and how they could support him.

Noah asked his mum, Dee, to publicise his fundraising campaign on social media, and also sought support from the neighbours living on his road. Donations came in from all across the UK and further afield.

Noah, who was nominated for the accolade by mum Dee, embarked on his next charity walk earlier this month, in aid of refugees and those wanting to find a better life for their families. He walked 10 miles through sleet and rain from his home in Wylam to Newcastle city centre raising an impressive £620.

The funds will be used to buy Christmas presents which will be handed out to young refugees in the area by North East Solidarity and Teaching (NEST) – a student-led organisation based at Newcastle University which aims to support those fleeing from conflict.

Noah, said: “Wow! I’m so happy to win this award. People like Marcus Rashford really inspire me to help others- it’s not fair that some children don't have enough food or won’t get any Christmas presents. I think if we all work together we can make a big difference. My Grandmother helped to set up a charity in 1991 which helps people in our local community and it has really showed me how important it is to think of other people.”

His mother, Dee, adds: “Noah is a kind and caring young man with a social conscience. He wants fairness and does believe he can help to change. I’m so proud of what he’s achieved this year and am delighted that he’s getting recognition for his efforts.”

Charles Offord, managing director of Co-op Insurance, said: “The next generation is in very safe hands if Noah’s story is anything to go by! It was heart-warming to see the hundreds of entries we had illustrating the amazing work of young people all over the UK but his passion and motivation really stood out.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to crown Noah as our Young Neighbour of the Year – his passion for helping others really shone through and we hope his work will inspire many other young people to get out in their community and help those who are less fortunate.”

The Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch Neighbour of the Year awards, now in its fourth year, launched in 2018 to shine a light on the UK’s unsung heroes who are carrying out work in their communities to improve the lives of others. Winners are chosen in the categories of Neighbour, Young Neighbour and Community of the Year.

ENDS