A TALENTED Taekwondo teen has been hailed as an “inspiration” after being named Young Volunteer of the Year at an annual awards bash.

Kirsten Barrett, 17, from Helensburgh, picked up the accolade at the Argyll and Bute TSI event earlier this month, recognising her efforts in training up fellow martial arts enthusiasts at her local club.

A multiple gold medallist in local and national competitions, Kirsten looks destined for the top of her discipline, but it is her work with the next generation of kickboxing kids which stands out the most for club owner Steven McLaren.

Steven said: “Kirsten is a naturally gifted, extremely talented martial artist, able to do many things that seem almost impossible to others.

“However, she is extremely humble and always looking to encourage other students and aid their learning.

“She has a fantastic rapport with students of all ages and abilities and also with the parents of our younger students.

“She has boundless enthusiasm and her dedication is something to be held up as inspirational.”

Kirsten, who is a black belt in Taekwondo, has been a student for seven years at the Peak Performance club on James Street, and is now working towards becoming an instructor, as well as a child safety officer.

She has impressed her coach with her dedication and commitment, as she often arrives early to set up classes and is even found hoovering the dojo afterwards.

Steven added: “Kirsten is extremely grounded, despite her exceptional talent, and she makes the most of this talent by using it for the benefit of others.

“She is still young but acts as an example to other students of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

“Kirsten is an absolute credit to herself and it is a privilege of ours to have her at our club.”

Kirsten, and all the other award winners, received their accolades at a ceremony held at Helensburgh Parish Church on September 7.

Other winners or nominees from the Helensburgh and Lomond area included 95-year-old Jean Holland, whose Lifetime Achievement award was featured in last week’s issue of the Advertiser, along with Alan Stuart, Fiona Donald, Marjory Barrington, the Gareloch RDA and the Rhu and Shandon Gala.

For more on the other award winners’ stories, check out the Advertiser in the next few weeks.