AN inspirational teenager has had his efforts recognised at an awards ceremony for his work rescuing wildlife.

Connor Boutell, 16, from Witham, was given a highly commended inspirational youth award at the Pride of Essex Awards.

A passionate carer for animals and wildlife, Connor started his Foxed Out group to spread awareness on how to help wildlife through harmless activism, education and rescue.

Connor says it has always been a passion of his.

He said: “I have been rescuing wildlife for as long as I can remember and providing homes for neglected or unwanted animals for a few years now.

“It has always been a passion of mine to save the ones who cannot save themselves, especially from human cruelty and harm.”

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The Pride of Essex Awards have been going since 1993.

They are in recognition of special people of all ages who have faced enormous difficulties with courage and determination, and those who have contributed significantly to the community.

They usually take place at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, but have been held virtually for the last two years.

Connor was nominated anonymously and was given a highly commended inspirational award at last week’s ceremony.

He was thrilled to be nominated.

“It felt great to get noticed at the awards,” he said.

“I’m more surprised I was even nominated, so thank you whoever did that!

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to win any awards – at least not so soon.

“I normally don’t get messages about award-based things, so it was a welcome surprise when it happened.”

Mum Belinda said she and dad Pete are proud of Connor and overjoyed he was recognised.

She said: “We are seriously glad he was nominated as he rarely gives himself credit for his work rescuing animals.

“Basically, if anything has a heartbeat and needs help, Connor will be there for it.

“He works tirelessly in trying to educate people via social media, leafleting and face-to-face.

“Connor is an amazing human being, and we are so proud of him for all he does.”

The full virtual awards ceremony can be viewed on YouTube, by searching for Pride of Essex Awards.