A YOUNG Bodelwyddan karate instructor and carer will close out 2019 by adding yet more silverware to her already packed trophy cabinet.

Bethan Owen, 16, the founder of a not-for-profit karate club in Rhyl, has been named ‘Young Community Leader of the Year’ at national charity Groundwork’s Community Awards ceremony at the Horse Guards Hotel in London.

Since opening the club in 2015 aged just 12, the Emrys ap Iwan pupil has been honoured with the British Citizen Youth Award in the Palace of Westminster, was named the winner of the St David Award - in the category Young Person - in March and has received a ‘Point of Light’ Award from Prime Minister Theresa May.

Bethan said: “The whole year has been an incredible journey for me and I’m still so shocked to have received such an incredible award. It’s been amazing.

“My house is quite full with the awards now.”

The Groundwork Community Awards were launched by the charity in 2017 to honour small community groups making a big difference to everyone’s quality of life and to celebrate and reward groups who often get little recognition and support.

From the age of five, Bethan has helped her father Garry Owen to take care of her mum who lives with epilepsy.

By way of a distraction, she started to learn shukokai karate - a hard style - at a young age and by the time she was 12-years old, she was a black belt and qualified karate instructor. She now holds a second dan black belt.

She realised that there was a lack of community services for other young carers in her local community, and started a karate club for young people in Rhyl, which now has between 40 and 45 members. In the past, she has also offered tutelage to pupils in Llandudno.

Rhyl Journal:

Bethan has between 40 and 45 pupils at her Rhyl dojo

Bethan’s skill and her community work has even been recognised Stateside, when she was inducted into the Martial Artist Association’s Hall of Fame in August, and she has also been placed in the under-16 British Female Martial Artist of the Year - International Hall of Fame London.

As for her plans to follow up her “incredible journey” next year, Bethan said: “We don’t really have plans for next year yet, but I am going for my third dan in 11 months time. I also have a few competitions in mind, and I’ll be busy with the police cadets and I am on the panel for the Wales Commissioner for the next two years.”