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Anti-bullying teen honoured by the Queen

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/07/2017

Miss Ashleigh Smith from New Zealand receives a Queen's Young Leaders Award for 2017 from Queen Elizabeth II. © Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images Miss Ashleigh Smith from New Zealand receives a Queen's Young Leaders Award for 2017 from Queen Elizabeth II. An Otago teen's work helping school students combat bullying has been personally recognised by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Shaking the monarch's hand overnight (NZT), Ashleigh Smith accepted a Young Leaders Award in recognition of her efforts founding anti-bullying group Sticks 'n' Stones in 2013.

The group has more than 300 volunteers and works with Central Otago and Dunedin students.

Smith told TVNZ she cried during the ceremony.

"It was so overwhelming, every single young person that is back home that has fought for the same things that I have for so long, I'm so proud of them," she said.

"I just hope they know that award is for them as well. Just reflecting on what we've been through to get here, it's so overwhelming."

The 19-year-old nursing student was one of 60 young people awarded a medal as part of the Queen's Young Leaders programme, which honours exceptional young people from the Commonwealth.

As part of the award, she has spent two weeks in the United Kingdom attending workshops, meeting government officials at 10 Downing Street and visiting groups such as the BBC, Google and Facebook.

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