The fun-filled festival event was held in Glasgow.
First Minister Humza Yousaf congratulated the winner of the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2023 at an entertainment packed event in Glasgow to mark the young people’s outstanding contributions to society.
Crowned Young Scot of the Year, Molly Turnbull from Fife was awarded the overall prize in recognition of her resilience and dedication to supporting other young people to overcome adversity.
The 18-year-old returned from a gruelling trek to Everest base camp in April, where she hiked to nearly 18,000ft to raise money for a charity that transformed her life.
The Polar Academy works with “invisible” children who are the victims of bullying, abuse or those crushed by a lack of self-esteem.
They offer young people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a major Arctic expedition – being part of the Academy has helped turn Molly from a shy and vulnerable teenager into a leader.
She said: “The Polar Academy came around at a time when I needed it most. It changed me and my life completely.”
Molly suffered severe bullying at high school that destroyed her confidence. Now she wants to ensure other vulnerable young people continue to have access to the same lifechanging experience via The Polar Academy.
“Not only did the charity make me a much stronger and more independent person,” she added. “It brought me back. I am passionate about this charity because I want all young people that were like me to have the opportunity of finding themselves again. The Polar Academy changes lives in a way not a lot of other things could.”
Molly, who is going to Heriot Watt University in September, was presented the Young Scot of the Year Award by the First Minister.
First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “It was a privilege to present the Young Scot of the Year Award to worthy winner Molly in recognition of her magnificent efforts and achievements.
“All the young people honoured at the awards ceremony are truly exceptional. Using their talent, creativity and dedication, they have made a significant impact in their communities and beyond and I am sure they will continue to be an inspiration to others.”
Now in its 17th year, the annual awards highlight the triumphs of young people with this year’s winners recognised for their work to protect the environment, challenge stereotypes, tackle youth violence and demonstrate remarkable resilience in the face of extreme adversity.
Hosted by CapitalFM’s Katy J, the event featured music from singer Tallia Storm and entertainment from DJ Erfone, stilt walkers and a silent disco.
The winners will join a prestigious roll call of previous recipients including Andy Murray, social media star Jamie Genevieve and comedian Paul Black.
Young Scot CEO Kirsten Urquhart said: “These awards shine a light on the incredible achievements and stories of young people – and this year was no exception.
“We work every day to support young people to thrive as they grow up in Scotland and this event, filled to bursting with stories of young people doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of others, is our greatest inspiration.”