Crouch Hill man who turned his life around wins Pride of Britain Award

When Jay Kamiraz looks back on 2012, he will remember it not only as the year he carried the Olympic torch, but also as the year James Bond handed him a Pride of Britain award in front of millions.

Mr Kamiraz, of Crouch Hill, was given the The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever award at the prestigious ceremony on Monday evening by trust ambassador and one-time Bond, Pierce Brosnan and Prince Charles.The event will be broadcast on ITV1 tonight. It was the second time he had met the Prince of Wales, having previously been selected to greet him as he carried the torch through Haringey in July.

“Carrying the torch was the greatest experience for me,” Mr Kamiraz said. “The fact his Royal Highness and Camilla took their time out for that, I feel grateful.”

He could not have guessed then he would be nominated for the award – which honours an exceptional young person who has turned their life around with help from the trust – especially as, just a few years ago, all this would have seemed an impossible dream for the 33-year-old.

Mr Kamiraz had a difficult childhood, was bullied at school and then ended up on the streets aged just 16. A year later, he was hospitalised after he was so brutally attacked it left him with internal injuries, requiring life-saving surgery. He still suffers from the after-effects today.

It was after this he began to turn his life around. With the help of a key worker, he built up his confidence and managed to get his own flat.

Then he got involved in a project to raise money for tsunami victims, bringing together singers to form a diverse choir called Souls of Prophecy Gospel Choir, which was so successful Mr Kamiraz realised he could turn it into a business.

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Mr Kamiraz approached The Prince’s Trust – which gives practical and financial support to young people to help them find employment – for help setting up JK Creative Arts Management Ltd, a company providing bespoke entertainment for weddings, corporate events, film and TV and other industries.

Not content with simply running a successful business, he has also set up “Sing to Smile”, a community programme to help boost people’s confidence through singing.

This week’s award is the culmination of all his hard work.

Mr Kamiraz said: “For me, it was amazing but the main thing was, I got to personally thank the Prince for changing my life and also changing thousands of other young people’s lives.”

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