A SCIENCE teacher and a woman pursuing her dream of becoming a bridal gown designer were among those honoured at an awards ceremony for exceptional young people.

Tasha Clarke, 21, who works at Bridal Reloved Dorchester, took the Creative Star prize at the Rock Star Awards.

Oliver Cooper, a 25-year-old science teacher at Shaftesbury school, was named Teaching Star at the event celebrating young people in Dorset and Hampshire.

Tasha Clarke says she has been besotted with bridal wear and the bridal fashion industry since she was three. When she got a break through work experience at a bridal shop, she knew it was the career she wanted.

She is now being mentored by some famous wedding dress designers and is hand-making her first wedding dress, to be completed in June.

She said: “So much has changed in the last two years. Before that, for a very long time I felt I wasn’t smart enough, good enough, creative enough, or even deserved to be given the opportunities. The best thing I’ve done is stop listening to that negative voice in my head and start listening to my peers who see the potential in me and what I am worth.”

Oliver Cooper first taught English in Poland and pursued it as a career when he returned to England. He adapts his lesson so pupils can get a head start on the curriculum, and has set up clubs devoted to Warhammer and other gaming and an LGBTQ+ group.

He says he is looking forward to a long career teaching science, believing every child should have the right to good teaching whatever their background.

The Rock Star Awards, held at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth, had a street art and urban theme, with the help of Dorset-based and internationally-renowned artist Stuart Semple. Chosen charities were AIMCommunity, a creative arts, education and mentoring project in Bournemouth, and the information and support organisation No Limits in Southampton.

Awards founder Angela Piromalli said: “The Rock Star Awards are nothing without the young people that really make it – the drive and determination they have never fails to inspire me and everyone involved.

“This year what really stood out to me was that every young person was celebrating that being different is cool. It’s not about sticking to the mould, it’s about being yourself and that needs to be highlighted regardless of shape, size, disability, race. I was really proud to be celebrating that specifically in the 2019 awards. Our winners and finalists are driving others to have confidence in themselves to celebrate their quirks and differences.”

There were 13 awards with 11 sponsors: Bournemouth University, Breeze Volkswagen, Greendale Construction, Agincare UK, Bournemouth and Poole College, Teachers Building Society, Datacenta Hosting, Dorset Growth Hub, Organix Brands, Treehouse Digital, Streetwise HR, The Video Club and Global Media and Entertainment.