OLDHAM’S youth mayor Samah Khalil has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work in empowering young people.

At 20 years old she is the youngest recipient on the New Year Honours List 2021.

Samah was elected to Oldham Youth Council in 2016 and has also represented Oldham as a Member of Youth Parliament (MYP).

As the first female youth mayor in Oldham from a black or ethnic minority (BME) background she has represented Oldham and Greater Manchester’s young people on a regional and international level.

She said of the award: "It doesn't feel real, and I don't know what I've done to deserve this. My mum jumped up and down with joy when she heard, and my dad says he is just so proud.

"Being youth mayor was, for me, about trying to give other young people opportunities and show them what we can do.

"I'll spend the rest of my life ensuring young people have access to opportunities and the chance to have their voices heard; especially those who need it the most."

In November, 2018, she delivered a speech as MYP from the dispatch box in Parliament to celebrate 100 years since some women first achieved the right to vote, becoming the first Oldham MYP to sit on the front benches at the Annual House of Commons sitting.

Samah attended North Chadderton School and sixth form and is currently taking a year out from her degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Sheffield.

Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding said: "This is an incredible achievement and a very well-deserved accolade for Samah.

"I've always been impressed by her commitment to empowering young people and doing all she can to encourage people from all backgrounds to fulfil their ambitions.

"As youth mayor and as MYP, Samah has been a fantastic ambassador for Oldham and Greater Manchester, and it's great to see her getting this recognition at the highest possible level."