TWO local youngsters have been recognised in national awards - with a third performing in front of Prince Harry.

Carlisle Youth Zone member Emily Ford and senior member Connor Tyson were nominated at the first ever OnSide Youth Zones Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on November 17.

Alongside the two nominees, Ben Taylor, 21, was part of a choir that performed several songs on the night, with performances also provided by The Script, John Newman Ms Banks and up-and-coming artist Yizzy.

“I was shortlisted for arts,” explained 15-year-old Emily.

“When they announced the awards, I didn’t win it, but I got to meet Prince Harry. It was really fun, it was great.”

She was nominated for the OnSide Arts Awards, but lost out to Nate from Blackburn Youth Zone.

The aim of the awards is to celebrate young people who have made a difference in their community, have breakthrough talent or have overcome the most challenging circumstances.

Emily spoke briefly with the Duke of Sussex.

“He asked my name, asked what youth zone I was from and what we were shortlisted for,” she explained.

“Connor had a long chat with him.

“It was really good. In the interval he came down and took pictures and was talking to everyone.

“It was nice to be recognised, especially as we want to do it as a career.

“Young people don’t always get recognised, so it was really good.”

Ben sang as part of the OnSide Choir on the night, also having a couple of solo lines in the song This is Me.

“It went absolutely brilliantly,” said the Carlisle College student.

“The experience was great as well.

“What it required me to do was go down the Friday before the Sunday show.

“I have done a lot of performances in the past, I do performing arts at Carlisle College.”

Despite being an experienced performer, this was completely new

“I started singing in year 10 and I have done a lot of performances and some gigs, but it was a big jump singing in front of 4,000 people.

“When I came onto the stage it was amazing.

“I have watched a lot at Albert Hall, performances from Adele, Emeli Sandé and various musicals.

“To perform there was a great experience for me.”

Carlisle Youth Zone team leader Matt Williams, who was part of the group who travelled to London for the awards, said: “Connor (Tyson) was nominated for OnSide Shining Star for his contribution and devotion to the youth zone.”

Carlisle Youth Zone supported Connor through his recovery from illness and now volunteers at the centre.

Emily was also shortlisted for an award and was put forward by the youth zone.

“She was nominated for her determination, contribution and passion for the arts,” said Matt.

“For getting involved here and taking part in art projects with other young people.

“She is very expressive with her art, everybody has a thing and her way of being expressive is through art.”

Ben was put forward to sing as part of the choir, again nominated by the youth zone.

Matt explained: “I absolutely love Ben. Originally he used to attend as a member.

“He’s absolutely in love with dramatics and singing, he is also very expressive.

“He has so much energy.”

It was a great moment for everyone at the youth zone, according to Matt.

“It was unreal, an overwhelming sense of pride to see them and hear them talk about it afterwards made the long journey worthwhile.

“We took 10 or 11 young people down, which could have been draining by the end - but we were so full of joy that they could have the opportunity to celebrate our young people and other young people as well.”