Teenager Raiche Mederick, 17, from Romford, rubbed shoulders recently with celebrities including Lorraine Kelly, Gloria Hunniford and Bernie Nolan, after women's magazine Best named her one of the UK's Bravest Women in 2010.
Raiche, currently in her second year of a BTEC National Diploma in Media Production at Barking & Dagenham College, was one of only ten women across the country to receive the prestigious accolade awarded to women who have shown bravery in the face of adversity but somehow found the courage to turn their experiences into something positive.
Raiche was just a toddler when she was left battling for her life and with 70 per cent burns following a house fire. But, despite suffering severe scarring and having to endure multiple skin grafts and operations, defiant Raiche is studying full-time at College as well as using her experiences to help others.
She volunteers for the charity, The Burned Children's Club, which was founded to help her by specialist nurse Pat Wade who worked at the Billericay Burns Unit where Raiche was first admitted as a child. Raiche plays such a major role in the charity, both as a volunteer and fundraiser, that Pat hopes she will one day take over the running completely.
Inspired by her positive outlook and determination, Best magazine took Raiche, and her fellow winners away to a large hotel for the full star treatment - a complete top-to-toe make over and photo-shoot, after which Lorraine Kelly and Best Editor Jackie Hatton presented the Awards.
"It's was like nothing I'd done before. Listening to the other stories made me feel honoured to be in their company," said Raiche of her Best experience. "Winning this award has really boosted my confidence, but I don't see myself as a role model. I just want to tell burns victims to make the most of their lives," she says.
This recognition follows an earlier triumph for Raiche, after she was awarded a News of the World Children's Champion Award, to celebrate those people who go further than anyone else to make a positive difference in the lives of children. The glamorous event was televised and included a visit to 10 Downing Street, before the star-studded Award Ceremony.
Photo Caption: Local heroine and Barking & Dagenham College learner, Raiche Mederick (centre) is named as one of Best Magazine?s Bravest Women 2010 by TV star Lorraine Kelly (left) and Best magazine editor Jackie Hatton (right).
These are the 12th annual Best Bravest Women Awards.
Barking & Dagenham College is a Further Education (FE) college offering a wide choice of vocational and academic courses, including Higher Education, for young people and adults.
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