July 28 2014 Latest news:
Laura Burnip, Senior reporter
Friday, July 4, 2014
Inspirational Lucy Daldy, who was named last year’s Exchange Ilford-sponsored Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award winner, said the accolades were a “fantastic way” of recognising the achievements and courage of young people in the borough.
Lucy, now 24, has turned her harrowing experiences of being sexually abused as a child when she was just eight into something positive.
She now works as an ambassador for Step Up, the charity her mum Shelley set up in 2003 following Lucy’s horrifying ordeal.
“The awards are a fantastic way of recognising people,” said Lucy.
“It’s a bit of a motivating factor for young people.
“Young people get a bit of a hard time sometimes, the youth of today messing things up.
“It’s nice to show them in a good light as well.
“It was an incredible experience to meet the other finalists.
“It was very humbling.”
Lucy, who grew up in Hainault but now lives in Loughton with partner Glenn, went on to be chosen as one of five winners at the Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI) Young Citizen Awards.
“It was extremely overwhelming,” she said.
“You think it must be a joke.
“I feel like it got our charity’s name out there a bit more.
“It wasn’t about me, it’s about the work that we do.”
Lucy was abused by a trusted family friend, who was jailed for his crimes in 1998.
Following the distressing ordeal, she underwent counselling, but said it was useful for children to be able to speak to someone with first-hand experience of abuse.
“I don’t really see myself as brave,” said Lucy.
“I just remember feeling that there was no-one who I knew had been through it themselves.
“I think it’s good for the kids, to know that you know exactly what they are feeling.
“A lot of the time, people that have been abused are almost seen as another statistic – as something that’s gone wrong.
“I want to change this perception.”
And Lucy, who is currently seven months’ pregnant with her first child, said young abuse victims needed to know they would go on to live normal lives.
She said: “Victims need to know they will have normal relationships and they will go on to do whatever they want – be doctors, lawyers, vets, chefs. This doesn’t hold them back.
“You feel like damaged goods, like you’ve got it written across your forehead.
“I was convinced that people would look at me and know.
“There are so many myths and taboos that come along with sexual abuse.
“My mother said to me ‘there’s nothing wrong with you’ – that’s my mantra.
“It doesn’t mean you’re going to go off the rails, or going to go and be a complete f***-up.
“There’s good that can come out of it, even if you only help one person.”
To find out more about Step Up, visit www.stepupcharity.org.uk.