The Kennel Club, organiser of the renowned dog show Crufts, has unveiled the finalists for the esteemed YKC Young Person of the Year award.

Recognising the remarkable efforts of young dog enthusiasts, all nominees are members of the Young Kennel Club (YKC). The accolade celebrates their dedication, inspiration, and selflessness in making a positive impact, encouraging peers, and transforming lives through their love for canines.

The YKC Young Person of the Year award stands as a pinnacle achievement for young individuals passionate about dogs, acknowledging those who go above and beyond to contribute positively to the lives of others. This prestigious award also applauds their efforts in motivating peers to make a difference with the assistance of their furry companions.

Shaun McAlpine Trophy Legacy

For 39 years, the Shaun McAlpine Trophy has been a symbol of excellence, presented to the winner of the YKC Young Person of the Year award at Crufts. Established in memory of Shaun McAlpine, who tragically lost his life in a car accident at the age of 22, the trophy commemorates his considerable success as a dog handler. The trophy holds deep significance, honouring the memory of an individual who contributed significantly to the world of dogs.

This year’s finalists showcase diverse achievements and contributions in various categories, each embodying the spirit of the YKC Young Person of the Year award.

Compassion Award – Amèlie Smith, aged 15, from Derbyshire

Amèlie’s compassion shines through her dedication to her younger sister, who has complex special needs. Balancing the role of an adoring older sister and caregiver, Amèlie extends her kindness to the community by assisting newcomers in dog showing at her local ringcraft club.

Personal Achievement Award – Poppy Coleby, aged 18, from Northumberland

Despite facing personal health challenges, Poppy demonstrates resilience and determination. Diagnosed with multiple conditions, including dysautonomia and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Poppy not only perseveres but excels in dog agility, earning a silver medal at the ParAgility World Championships.

Sporting Talent Award – Gemma MacKenzie, aged 14, from Midlothian

In a short span since December 2022, Gemma exhibits remarkable dedication to dog handling, grooming, and breed showing. Accumulating awards and qualifications, Gemma also stands out for her passion and commitment to her newfound hobbies.

Inspiring Others Award – Emily Dabb, aged 18, from Lincolnshire

Emily’s inspirational journey includes being part of the Brigg Muttley Crew flyball team and competing as a member of the YKC Flyball team at Crufts. As the oldest handler, Emily serves as a role model to younger team members and dedicates time to training her rescue Border Collie, Dolly.

Voting for the Winner

The public will play a crucial role in determining the overall winner. An online vote is open at The Kennel Club’s website, with the announcement scheduled for Sunday, 10th March, at Crufts.

All finalists are invited to Crufts 2024 for a special presentation ceremony, where they will receive an exclusive YKC ambassador’s badge and award. The Kennel Club Educational Trust will award £100 to all category winners, with an additional £350 presented to the overall winner at Crufts.

Helen Kerfoot, Young Kennel Club spokesperson, commended the finalists, stating, “They are truly an inspiration, and a credit to themselves, their families, and, of course, their dogs.”