A BUNCH of determined teenage BMX riders from Aldbourne who tackled their parish council head-on have won one of the country's most prestigious youth awards.

The boys from the village's BMX Club were among youngsters from all over the UK who won the praise of Home Secretary John Reid on Tuesday.

Dr Reid presented the annual Philip Lawrence awards given in memory of the headteacher who was stabbed to death 11 years ago outside his school in Ealing.

His widow Frances was at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London to congratulate the eight winning youth groups chosen from more than 200 applicants. The awards, with a prize of £1,000, are open to those aged 11 to 20 who demonstrate outstanding citizenship.

Representing the Aldbourne BMXers at the awards were sixteen year olds James Keen and Chris Wyatt, Jonathon Gibbs, 14, and 13 year olds Chris Puttick, Adam Wise and Jack Matthews, who all attend St John's School in Marlborough.

The ceremony heard how they have been working in partnership with Aldbourne Parish Council to build a BMX track and shelter at Palmer's Field, which is now regularly used by more than 200 youngsters.

But what the awards gathering did not hear is that the BMX boys and the council did not see eye to eye to start with.

Councillors demolished the first home made jumps put up by the riders because they feared the teenagers may have a fall, raising problems over insurance.

Boldly the youngsters met the council and asked for its help rather than opposition over their plans for a proper BMX track.

Youth group leader Heather Keen worked with a number of parish councillors including Andy Devey and Dr Jonathan Rayner to win the support of the council.

The teenagers then went on to raise £9,500 through a series of events and lobby for grants to cover the total cost of £19,000.

Dr Rayner was quoted in the awards programme, saying: "There is no doubt that were it not for their initiative and doggedness this project would not have gone ahead."

Broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald, who hosted the awards, praised the BMXers for their tenacity. The boys' exhilaration shone through as they met Dr Reid, Mrs Lawrence and Sir Trevor.

Adam Wise said: "We backed the parish council into a corner after they first said we could not have a BMX track but they gave up in the end and decided to support us."