A modest teenager from South Woodford has been put forward for an award for his volunteering efforts.

Nate Harding, 16, of South Woodford, has been nominated for the  Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award after being recognised for his work in his community. 

Nate's volunteering first started when he took up the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze challenge around three years ago.

Since then, his interest in helping others has only increased.

Over the years, Nate has stepped up to a number of key roles in the local community without a second thought. 

His mum, Patricia (Tricia) Harding said: "There’s never any reluctance, he just gets on with it.

"He doesn't see it as anything special. I do get lots of people, neighbours, say to me 'he's so lovely, he's so kind' - I'm always surprised that they are surprised.

Ilford Recorder: Nate helping out with some weeding at a local park.Nate helping out with some weeding at a local park. (Image: Patricia Harding)

"He doesn’t actually understand at all why anyone would see it as anything remotely out of the ordinary – if I spoke to him now, he'd just say that’s what you do."

For Nate, helping people has also helped him. 

He said: "I get to meet so many different people.

"It’s helped to build my confidence in lots of ways and it’s really nice knowing more people in your local community and makes everything friendlier.  

"I think it’s good for your mental wellbeing."

He dedicates much of his time to volunteering as a youth leader at Woodford Green Athletics Club with Essex Ladies, helping out with the younger members of the club. 

Nate also helped remind people to be energy aware in 2021 when he became an Energy Envoy. 

Ilford Recorder: Nate with his poster as part of his Energy Envoy projectNate with his poster as part of his Energy Envoy project (Image: Patricia Harding)

This selflessness from the teen is in his nature, according to mum Tricia. 

She said: "He’s always been that way from the off. He's just never not been that way.

"I don’t know what we've done with him but he's definitely well regarded amongst everyone and definitely very well liked.

"Anyone who meets Nate, they like him. He's a good egg, he's got a generous spirit, he's kind and I see that people see that.

Even in the trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Nate was still focused on others. 

Nate helped his dad pick up shopping and prescriptions for people in their neighbourhood, and even entertained children at home by walking down the lane in a large inflatable dinosaur costume. 

Nate said: "I then started entertaining the children on the street by doing a walk up and down the road dressed as a dinosaur, even on Christmas Day.

Ilford Recorder: Nate in his Dinosaur costumeNate in his Dinosaur costume (Image: Patricia Harding)

"I could see how much this was making people smile at a tough time and it made me happy that I could do that."

The novelty of Nate's creative ideas have not worn off as Tricia admitted she still gets requests for the dinosaur to come and entertain the streets from time to time. 

Nate said he is shocked by the nomination for The Young Citizen Award.

He said: "It means a lot that anyone would consider anything I do to be worthy to nominate me for an award of any kind. 

"I find everything I do enjoyable and I get a lot of out of it myself. I really appreciate the nomination."

Tricia said: ""I'm a bit like him – I'm equally bemused as I see it as just Nate being Nate.

Ilford Recorder: Nate with his hand-made sweet cones for a Scouts eventNate with his hand-made sweet cones for a Scouts event (Image: Patricia Harding)

"It's quite ordinary behaviour for him, what he should be doing."

Alongside Nate's dedication to volunteering, he is also a full-time student at Trinity Catholic High School. He has excelled in school too, being presented with a number of headteacher accolades. 

Nate is planning on keeping with the volunteering and hopes to complete some coaching assistant qualifications for the Athleisure Club next year.

His advice to people is "if you get the opportunity to get involved, give it a try.

"It will give you plenty of things to talk about as you go forwards and is very rewarding."

The award recognises the outstanding achievements of young people in the borough aged 25 and under.

To nominate someone, contact olivia.carter@newsquest.co.uk at the Recorder or visit www.redbridgerotaryclub.org/contact giving information about the nomination and contact details.