OLDHAM’S Youth Mayor Samah Khalil is the youngest person to be recognised in the New Year Honours list 2021.
There are a total of 1,239 recipients including 20-year-old Samah from Chadderton who receives the British Empire Medal for her work in empowering young people.
She is also among the 14.2% of recipients coming from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background – the most ethnically diverse honours list yet.
Samah said: “It doesn’t feel real, and I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this. My mum jumped up and down with joy when she heard, and my dad says he is just so proud.
“Being Youth Mayor was, for me, about trying to give other young people opportunities and show them what we can do.
“I’ll spend the rest of my life ensuring young people have access to opportunities and the chance to have their voices heard; especially those who need it the most.”
Samah, a bio engineering student at the University of Sheffield, was elected to the Youth Council in 2016.
She was officially sworn into office as the borough’s 11th Youth Mayor on June 26, 2019.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her term has been extended until May 2021.
Tia Henderson from Diggle is currently Oldham’s deputy youth mayor and current chair of Oldham Youth Council.
Prior to her election as Youth Mayor, Samah completed her term of office as Member of Youth Parliament (MYP), representing Oldham on a national level.
As MYP, in November 2018, she delivered a speech from the dispatch box to celebrate 100 years since some women first achieved the right to vote.
In doing so, she became the first Oldham MYP to sit on the front benches at the Annual House of Commons sitting.
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “This is an incredible achievement and a very well-deserved accolade for Samah.
“I’ve always been impressed by her commitment to empowering young people and doing all she can to encourage people from all backgrounds to fulfil their ambitions.
“As Youth Mayor and as MYP, Samah has been a fantastic ambassador for Oldham and Greater Manchester, and it’s great to see her getting this recognition at the highest possible level.”
- The oldest person on the NYH list is Anne Baker from Salisbury in Wiltshire, who at 106 years old receives an MBE for fundraising for the NSPCC.