Rotary Young Citizen Winner receives Diana Award

Rotary Young Citizen Award winner Nicole Dryburgh received a Diana Award during a reception at 11 Downing Street earlier this week.

Nicole, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Monday (9th February), has been left blind, profoundly deaf and unable to walk due to spinal cancer but despite this has written a book, runs her own website, writes a column for her weekly newspaper in Kent and has raised tens of thousands of pounds for her favourite charities.

She is the 25,000th young person to receive the Diana award which is in recognition of youngsters’ compassion and extraordinary success at bringing about stronger communities and changing the lives of those they touch.

nichola-and-r-gibbThe event marked the 10th Anniversary of the Diana Award.  Music star Robin Gibb attended the ceremony in his new capacity as Ambassador for the Diana Award.

20-year-old Nicole from Kent suffered a rare form of tumour at the age of 11 and following intense radiotherapy, was given the all clear. In 2002, she suffered a brain hemorrhage and whilst in hospital, had a stroke and Bells Palsy which left her blind and unable to walk. Recently, she has lost her hearing due to tumours in both her ears.

She uses deaf blind sign language to communicate and despite all she has faced, she has written and published a book The Way I See It. She has raised more than £43,500 to equip a new children’s neurological rehabilitation unit at King’s College Hospital, where she was a patient.  Her fundraising efforts included doing an abseil down the side of the hospital building.  Her next challenge is called “Nicole’s Fund” where she hopes to raise £50,000 to help build a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Surrey branch of the Royal Marsden Hospital.

She has also been commissioned to write another book called Talking to the Hand.

When Nicole received her Rotary Young Citizen Award at the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Conference in April, 2008 at Blackpool, she said she had a wish list of things she wanted to achieve which included going shopping in New York and meeting Prince Harry.  In July, thanks to Rotarians and in particular Rotarian Tony Betts, Secretary of the Rotary Club of Redbridge, Nicole and her mother Jackie and brother Lee went to New York for nine days on a specially tailored trip for Nicole.  She has also had a private meeting with Prince Harry who sent a special message of congratulations to Nicole when she received her Diana Award.

Nicole was nominated for the Rotary Young Citizen Award by the Rotary Club of Faversham in Kent.

A documentary on Nicole will feature on BBC News channel on Saturday 14 February at 05.30am and 2.30pm Sunday 15 February at 03.30am, 10.30am, 2.30pm and 11.30pm. Click here for the BBC schedule page

Nicole’s website is


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