South Pennines Park Awards: Young Nature Champion

Muhammad Abdulrashid from Blackburn was named our Young Nature Champion at the inaugural South Pennines Park awards.

Muhammad, 11, who suffers with asthma, set out on a mission to tackle climate change by spreading awareness of engine idling.

After learning about the detrimental impact idling engines can have on children’s health and the environment he was inspired to make a difference. He knocked car windows outside his Blackburn school to ask drivers to turn off their engines and explaining why.

And his eco-actions haven’t stopped there. Muhammed has also planted 500 trees along with friends and goes litter picking in his neighbourhood.

Muhammad received a rapturous applause from the attendees as he collected his award.

His campaign started after he overheard his dad, Faz Patel MBE, and Blackburn with Darwen Council Leader Phil talking about engine idling and how it’s a big problem.

He said: “I have asthma – so when people sit with their engines running, the emissions go into people’s lungs and makes it hard to breathe.

“I started by asking my dad not to leave his engine running, then started standing outside school before and after school to ask people to stop and telling them why.

“I am very happy to receive the award. I can’t wait to tell my grandparents, and my school will be very proud.”