Inspirational speakers influence youngsters on decision-making

AN Iraq war survivor was one of four inspirational individuals chosen to help encourage South Derbyshire youngsters to fulfil their potential in life. 

The 'Your Choice' event, commissioned by the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership and funded by the South Derbyshire Health and Wellbeing Group, saw the quartet speak to pupils at Newhall's William Allitt School, Granville Sports College in Woodville and Swadlincote's Pingle School. 

It focused on making youngsters aware of how selecting bad options such as taking drugs, drinking too much alcohol or joining a gang could lead to an unhappy, crime-filled existence, but also on educating them about what happens when right decisions are made. 

The speakers included Simon Brown, who signed up with the Army in 1997 at the age of 18 but was shot in the face while serving in Iraq in 2006. 

He helps young people come to terms with their own loss of sight at Blind Veterans UK charity in Sheffield Lucy Smith was groomed and sexually exploited by a gang of men at the age of 13, but by the age of 21 she had a book published on her experiences and was working on various projects to combat child sexual exploitation. 

An expert in radicalisation and hate crimes, Dorian Grey was bullied at school and became involved with gangs, but he is now an award-winning speaker. The final speaker was Dr Manny Barot, a former Director of Professional Studies at the Holocaust Centre who retired to become a volunteer.

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