Selfless Natalie is proof of no Payne, no gain

A SELFLESS teenager who looks after her ill mother and her brother and still finds time to lead a scout troop and volunteer is in line for a top award.

Natalie Payne, of Thumpers in Hemel Hempstead, gets everyone up and breakfasted in the morning before going to school and returning to do the cooking and cleaning.

On top of that the 17-year-old is a scout leader for 4th Boxmoor Scouts, counsels other young carers, helps at a youth centre and assists at her church.

And as if that was not enough Natalie, who hopes to become a paramedic, plans to travel to Haiti to build a house for a family left homeless by last year’s earthquake.

She said: “I’m not sure how I find time, but I have an amazing family and the church supports me. I don’t know what I’d do without them, it’s good having someone to lean on.”

Natalie has been caring for her mother Debra, who has bipolar disorder, since her parents split when she was five, along with her 14-year-old brother Jack.

She said: “I like to make sure everyone is OK and everything is in the right place as mum doesn’t go out a lot.”

The teenager goes to Cavendish School, where she will be studying A-levels in September, and attends St George’s Church.

Natalie has been nominated for a Citygate Hertfordshire Young People of the Year award, or YOPEY, by Krishna Thakur, who runs the Hemel Youth One Stop Shop where she helps out.

Krishna said: “Natalie takes on a huge amount of responsibility. She is so committed and has very little free time to go out and enjoy herself as she has to go home and care for her mum.”

YOPEY, now in its seventh year, aims to reward youngsters who make a difference and has been sponsored by Kodak and Hillier Hopkins.

Organiser Tony Gearing said: “Natalie puts 110 per cent into everything she does. She is very modest and helps out not only with her own family, but the community and now abroad as well.”

To nominate a young person for an award visit www.yopey.org

Entries close on August 26.