Published: 22/04/2013 15:05 - Updated: 22/04/2013 15:02

Alesha Dixon crowns Inverness woman "Young Scot"

Written byBy Claire Doughty

Jess Ryan with singer Alesha Dixon at the awards ceremony
Jess Ryan with singer Alesha Dixon at the awards ceremony

AN Inverness woman who was victim to sexual abuse and neglect has been named as the overall winner at a prestigious televised awards ceremony.

Jess Ryan was named the overall winner at the Young Scot Awards for showing tremendous bravery and overcoming her own personal ordeals to help other vulnerable young people.

She was victim to sexual abuse and neglect when growing up, which led to family relationship breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse and self-harm.

Helped by Children 1st, Jess turned her life around and was brave enough to give up her anonymity to become a public figure for the charity.

In 2012 she recorded a powerful song about her experiences, raising both awareness and £16,000 for the charity.

She publicly shared her story in the hope that other children going through a similar ordeal would find the courage to speak out against neglect.

She told the HN: "To think my story could change someone’s life is a powerful thought. It’s part of the reason why I allowed my anonymity to be released. I thought it would have more of an impact and reach out to women who felt those things that they shouldn’t have to feel if they have been abused.

"Hopefully, the more people talk about sexual abuse, the harder it will be to happen, because people won’t be able to get to vulnerable people so easily."

Thousands of guests attended the event on Friday at the Glasgow Crowne Plaza and Clyde Auditorium which was televised on STV.

Guests were entertained by performances from X Factor finalists Misha B and Jahmene Douglas, alongside 2012 Award winner Nina Nesbitt and 2011 winners, Little Eye.

Stars also flocked from across the UK to attend, including BRIT award-winning singer and Britain’s Got Talent Judge, Alesha Dixon; stars of The Only Way is Essex; and My Mad Fat Diary star, Sharon Rooney.

Young Scot, is the national youth information agency for Scotland.

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of the organisatio,n said: "Scotland’s young people are amazing - their achievements are truly inspiring and these finalists and winners are great examples of the fantastic work we know young people are doing across communities in Scotland every day.

"Choosing the winners was an almost impossible task thanks to the calibre of entries and Scotland can be proud of each and every young person who was nominated. Now we want everyone to help us share these positive stories of young people across the country, and the others they know are making a positive difference."

Britain’s Got Talent judge, Alesha Dixon, who attended the awards for a second year, said: "The reason I wanted to come back was because this is an event that matters and it’s a privilege to be part of it. People talk about young people being the future but they forget they are the present as well and are making a difference now."

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