Model Redbridge College student battles through chronic illness to gain coveted Young Citizen nomination

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 October 2016

Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award nominee Charlee Lambourne at work at Redbridge College.

Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award nominee Charlee Lambourne at work at Redbridge College.


Despite suffering from a debilitating back issue, a teenager defies chronic day-to-day pain to reach an astounding 96 per cent attendance rate at her college.

Charlee Lambourne, 19, who attends Redbridge College, Barley Lane, Chadwell Heath, was nominated by college staff for a Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen award for her determination and helpful nature.

Charlee has overcome a difficult background and gained a place on the college’s academy programme for gifted and talented students.

Referring to her nomination, Charlee said: “I didn’t know anything about it. I’m quite happy.”

The teenager began suffering from back pain four years ago.

“They cannot tell me what’s wrong. But just that I am in constant pain all the time. I was kept in hospital for a week, they couldn’t identify what was wrong with me.”

But despite not knowing the cause of the pain, Charlee is determined to complete her course.

“I’m literally in every day, all day,” she said. “I try not to let it beat me.”

As part of the college’s enrichment programme, Charlee organises and teaches cookery classes designed to make sure students have fun, make friends and try new things.

“The whole catering team and her peers see her as a fantastic asset,” said Mitus Castillo, from the college.

“She is in constant and severe pain. However, she has never once used this as an excuse to miss lessons or events and never complains.”

Charlee has shared a message of encouragement to other students battling health issues.

“Everyone has different health issues, but if they had similar to mine, I would say try not to let it hold you back from what you dream of.”

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