The Lincolnite’s 30 Under 30 celebrates the rising stars in Lincoln and Lincolnshire, with the 2021 edition bringing a new generation of talent, ambition and drive to the fore — making them the young people to watch.
From entrepreneurs to scientists, mental health advocates to sportspeople, our city and county is buzzing with an energising drive from its ambitious young people — and we strongly believe they all deserve recognition for their tireless work.
The Lincolnite, along with our sponsors Sparkhouse, Lincoln College, Ringrose Law and Streets Chartered Accountants, are proud to present the 30 rising stars of 2021. They all impressed judges with their inspirational stories and determination to create a lasting legacy in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, and beyond.
The 2021 Lincolnshire 30 Under 30
Scroll down to find out who’s on the list this year — in alphabetical order
Photography by Steve Smailes
Owner, Pro Logs, 27
Adam Taylor is the owner of Lincolnshire firewood and solid fuel company Pro Logs. Deciding that university wasn’t for him, Adam went against teachers’ advice to put his incredible work ethic and defiance into becoming a self-employed success, and it has paid off. At just 17, Adam began his business by chopping and selling logs from his back garden, using his parents’ old VW Passat to make deliveries. Fast forward to ten years later, his company is run from his own yard, with customers including Lincolnshire Co-op and national firewood brands. He employs several members of staff, and he now makes deliveries in one of the Pro Logs crane trucks! Adam is determined to offer employees without academic qualifications the chance to progress to management roles. His team learn about business and work ethic directly from Adam. During lockdown, Adam worked from home to protect his heavily pregnant wife and supply hundreds of households with wood. Demand increased too, as more people were staying at home. Despite huge challenges which could have threatened the future of the business he has continued to grow, acquiring other businesses, and launching a new, successful timber company. Adam is described as kind, friendly and generous, and he makes his family extremely proud.
Campaign Lead for Unravelled, Raleigh International UK, 22
Lincoln-born Annie Bocock is a founder, leader and activist on a mission to make the world a better place for us all to live. Dropping out of university in 2019 due to mental health problems, and moving in with her parents on the Birchwood estate left Annie anxious, in debt and lacking self-confidence. Despite this, she turned her experience into a TEDxBrayfordPool talk about how universities could improve mental health provisions. This sparked a passion for activism, which Annie has poured into projects in Lincolnshire and beyond. She has been Team Leader three times for the Lincoln City Foundation’s NCS programme, worked on her own art & culture project Art for Messy Beings, and is also Director of Volunteering for Role Models Yorkshire. Annie marks her most significant achievement as her role as Campaign Lead of national campaign Unravelled, funded by Raleigh International with a £15,000 budget, which aims to tackle the impact of fast fashion on the planet. She also sits on the Youth Futures Foundation’s first Future Voices Group, and looks forward to attending this year’s European Youth Event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with Generation Climate Europe.
Director, Virtual Music Academy Ltd, 28
Cameron is a graduate of Cambridge University, the Royal Academy of Music and The Juilliard School in New York, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. An internationally sought-out voice teacher, he founded thevocalcoaches.com last year to offer access to world-class singing tuition around the world. The school now has over 250 students from 30 countries, including Grammy and Emmy Award winners, Hollywood actors, Broadway and West End professionals, and students in productions for Netflix, HBO, Nickelodeon and Amazon Prime. The school’s 18 teachers comprise coaches from The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent, West End principals and faculty from the world’s top music schools.
Pilot, RAF Waddington, 26
Although originally planning a career in law, Cameron Stewart felt duty-bound to serve his country in the Royal Air Force instead. Cameron has excelled over the past year professionally, becoming the only pilot instructor of his level on his aircraft. He has also taken on the role of deputy flight commander, often stepping up to fill the position of one higher than his rank when required. Cameron has already completed over 1,000 flying hours on his aircraft, all of which have been completed as aircraft captain. Cameron dedicates much of his free time to sport, especially American Football, from a grassroots level supporting deprived children of all ages. He set up Lincolnshire’s first Flag American Football team, formed the British Military’s first American football team, and took on the role of Chairman for the RAF contingent, as well as representing his country in the British Lions Silver Flag American Football Team. Cameron achieves all this while being an unpaid career for his wife.
Supporter Care Team Lead, St Barnabas Hospice, 28
Chris Glazer’s colleagues describe him as ‘wise beyond his years’, and he has been highly praised for his work ethic, passion for the cause and willingness to develop new skills in his role at end-of-life charity St Barnabas Hospice. He has progressed rapidly in his career at the charity after first joining in 2015 as a Fundraising Assistant, before achieving the role of Support Care Officer and then Supporter Care Team Lead. Not only does Chris support his own team, but he is always on hand to support other teams in a calm, considered and professional manner. Chris is a fountain of knowledge on Donorflex, the Hospice’s CRM system, and provides training and support on this to his own team and other departments. He is credited with playing a huge part in developing procedures to streamline the work that the team do, and loves to present his data analysis about how supporters are behaving. Aside from his day job, Chris supports the hospice voluntarily by attending events and leading teams of volunteers, including the Colour Dash, Moonlight Walk, Torchlight Procession and Bubble Rush. Friends who nominated him described Chris as “one of the most genuine, kind and caring people you could meet.”
Dan James Clarke
Senior Aircraftman, Royal Air Force, 20
Dan James Clarke’s name is already on the lips of some of the biggest companies on social media. Alongside his role as a Senior Aircraftman at RAF Coningsby, he has put his entrepreneurial flair into creating a self-titled marketing and PR business that’s shot him skywards to success. Dan is fiercely determined, a quality earned from conquering severe bullying at school. He focused on proving cruel peers wrong, and getting through days of loneliness and fear. Now, he hopes to share a message of hope to other young people experiencing bullying. Self taught since 14, Dan marketed content to audiences across platforms. He has since had the opportunity to work with companies like TikTok, Fitness Coach, Sincere Sally Boutique, and Calm app. In March 2021, he started his own social media marketing and PR business, which reached over £15,000 in sales in just the first two months of operating. Clients include Bryce Monkivitch (CEO/Founder of Sincere Sally Boutique), Scotty Chickens, Tms Tystar, and some popular niche pages on Instagram, including humorempire. Aside from his business ventures, Dan is also proud of his work in Kenya with a charity which sets up safe houses for street boys – ‘Harambee for Kenya.’
Ellie & Zara Pickles
Owners, Cognito, 23 & 20
Ellie and Zara Pickles are two of the youngest new business owners in the Lincoln food and drink scene. The duo renovated and refurbished an iconic city centre building over lockdown to open Japanese bar and restaurant Cognito. Nominated by one of their customers for their friendly and helpful nature, they were deemed an inspiration to other young aspiring entrepreneurs. Creating a business during a pandemic is no easy feat, and the pair showed determination and resilience beyond their years. They put their all into upgrades, designs of the decor, and even created their own menus. Cognito is no ordinary bar. It fills a gap in the market, as half of the menu is Japanese, from sushi to gyozas and mochi balls on the desert menu, and even serving Japanese alcoholic cocktails. They have their own mocktails and English desserts too, and are very involved in the running of the restaurant. The restaurant is described as relaxing and welcoming, and the food high quality. Ellie and Zara often check in with customers to see if there is anything more they can do, and they are regarded as bubbly, positive and a credit to Lincoln.
Head of Safeguarding, Housing 21, 28
Despite challenging health struggles, Emily Russell has worked tirelessly through the pandemic, and her strength and determination has shone brightly before colleagues and service users at Housing 21. Emily, who suffers multiple disabilities, has gone on to complete her masters in safeguarding, alongside her role as Head of Safeguarding, at the age of 28 – an incredible feat for someone who was told she would never ride a bike! Her peers say they are extremely proud of her and how she always puts her services users first. Emily doesn’t take days off, her colleagues say she uses this time to ensure service users are safe and that colleagues aren’t overwhelmed with work volume. Her laptop is with her, even from hospital beds, and Emily takes part in team calls. After many personal and work struggles over the years, she’s developed strength both personally and professionally and is an inspiration to those around her.
Chief Operating Officer, Theraplate, 28
Francesca Fox has known low. When she moved to America at 19, setting up an online drawing service to pay the rent, she never imagined she would end up sleeping in a car for two years. At 21, a traumatic birth in New York left her in ICU and separated from her baby girl for three weeks. A terrifying break-in at her apartment shortly after this was the final straw that brought her back to the UK. Now, still aged just 28, Francesca is responsible for growing a company behind one of the best selling therapy equipment for people and animals worldwide. TheraPlate is a pain management platform that uses Vortex Wave Circulation Therapy, causing motors to move in a circular motion, and is used by humans, horses and other animals. On return to the UK in 2016, aged 23 and despite severe dyslexia, Francesca was hired as Sponsorship and Hospitality manager for Wolverhampton racecourse. This is where she met her company’s product owner Chip Kreiling. She quit her job at the racecourse to sell the product and lost her accommodation. So it was from her mother-in-law’s one bedroom council flat that she began planning the first steps for TheraPlate UK. In 2021 TheraPlate opened the very first TheraPlate Clinic in Lincolnshire offering therapy to the local community.
Company Director/Co-Founder, View Shift Productions, 22
Lincoln filmmaker and photographer Harris Tomlinson-Spence is the talent behind award-winning film production company View Shift Productions CIC. He has made a name for himself creating digital content in the music industry, working with well-known artists like Lewis Capaldi, Nothing But Thieves and Mumford and Sons, as well as many local bands, and he is also gaining international acclaim for his short films. Since graduating, he has directed and produced short films, music videos and commercials from his Lincoln-based Community Interest Company. The company focuses on film projects within local communities and trying to increase diversity within the indie film world. Harris wants to grow the film and media industry in Lincoln, and has also worked on projects with local and national charities. The most recent short film produced by View Shift is ‘Salt Water Town’. The film cast Owen Teale (Line of Duty and Game of Thrones) and Tom Glynn Carney (Dunkirk and The King) as the lead roles. It has already been selected at a BAFTA qualifying festival, the Bolton International Film Festival and the BAFTA and OSCAR qualifying International Film Festival ‘Raindance’.
Operations Manager, EV Camel, 29
Joining the world of Electric Vehicle Charging in 2019 as an Operations Administrator, Jacqueline worked directly with the Managing Director to start growing the business and their expertise in a field that has become a rapidly growing area of interest in
the last couple of years. The company started with just Jacqueline and Richard (MD) in 2019. Two years to the day of starting Jacqueline was promoted to Operations Manager, an achievement in itself for someone under 30 in the construction industry. Within these two years, the team has grown from two employees to a total of 11 employees – soon to be 13. As a mother of two young children, Jacqueline is proud to balance work, home and her children’s schooling and still achieve a step up in her career – all whilst working through the pandemic and supporting the growth and operations of the business. It has been a rapid and exciting journey for Jacqueline and having just taken over the commercial side of the business, she is excited to see where this new role takes her and how she can further help Lincolnshire grow its EV charging infrastructure.
Disability Consultant, 27
Jo Tolley is an ‘outside the box’ thinker, someone who wholeheartedly believes there is an unstoppable force attributed to finding your own lane and, as she puts it, “gracefully dancing within it”. Jo lives with cerebral palsy, and has experienced the many societal hurdles that disabled communities have to jump over. Her work and mission is to shatter those barriers. Jo is the co-chairman for Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincolnshire Young Voices, a disability participation group for young people with SEND. She also set up IJOT (I, Jo Tolley) an organisation which is empowering people with disabilities to craft a world which embraces equity and diversity. IJOT creates holistic communication, founded upon authentic inclusivity. It is built upon the belief that when accurate representation is illuminated, societal views of what it means to be disabled organically evolve to encompass perceptions which are no longer governed by the mythical limitations of labels. She is currently working with groups in Lincolnshire and in Chicago to achieve wonderful results.
Goalkeeper/Goalkeeper Coach, Lincoln City FC, Lincoln Griffins Ladies FC, 17
Football mad Joe-anne Butterfield has overcome many challenges to get to where she is today. Not only has she been number one keeper for the current under 18s at Lincoln Griffins for the last few years, but she has recently been selected to join the Lincoln City women’s development squad as a reserve keeper. Since the age of four, Joe-anne has loved playing football, and she has always had a particular talent for scoring goals. Sadly, she experienced bullying at a boys club when she was small, but this never stopped her drive to get to the top. At the Lincoln Griffins, Joe-anne never fails to pitch in to help raise money for the club, and the Sophie’s Journey charity. Last year, she also began helping the under 12s goalie at the club, giving her one on one coaching sessions. In her nomination, it was clear that she is always first to help her teammates, and was described as a great leader on the pitch. Family and friends are very proud of her move into women’s football as reserve keeper and say it’s just what she deserves. Her mum describes her as her ‘hero’.
Senior Writer, GiveMeSport, 22
Kobe Tong became a freelance journalist at just 16. He joined the young journalist academy – introduced to him by The Priory Academy LSST, and wrote more than 300 articles whilst doing his A Levels. At 18, he turned down a place at Durham University after he was offered a full time writing job at GiveMeSport, a large online sports publisher by social media. By the time he was 21, he became the most senior writer there. Kobe has reported across the world, including Japan, Qatar, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium at events such as the World Athletics Championships, European Indoor Championships and the London Marathon. He has interviewed the likes of Sir Mo Farah, Fernando Torres, David Haye, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Dina Asher-Smith, Shelly-Ann-Fraser-Pryce and Eliud Kipchoge – as well as Lincolnshire’s very own Guy Martin. Kobe raised more than £2,000 for The British Heart Foundation over a series of challenges, including completing a marathon on his driveway in the first lockdown. Kobe also gives back locally by conducting journalism workshops in Lincolnshire primary schools. In 2021 alone, Kobe’s articles attracted more than 23 million views and he fulfilled a lifelong dream of writing a book, self-publishing in the same year.
‘Your learning disability does not define you’; That’s the mantra of 17-year-old Lincolnshire gymnastics world champion Lauren Douce. Lauren is a Lincolnite 30 Under 30 shortlist for the second time after defying her learning disability to achieve sporting excellence. In 2019, Lauren represented Great Britain at the World Special Olympics and became Overall Gymnastic World Champion. Since then, she has also promoted inclusive sport to primary school children. Learning is a particular challenge for Lauren, but she knuckled down through the pandemic, repeating her GCSEs in 6th Form. Despite expectations that she would gain no GCSEs, she is now striving for six, along with 2 BTEC passes. Training through her studies resulted in an exceptional 1st place in her category at the virtual World V Trampolining Competition 20/21 (her second world title), alongside numerous British Gymnastics achievements. With a Gymnastics coaching qualification now underway and weekly volunteering at Retford Gymnastics Club, Lauren is a shining example of dedication and success through alternative pathways. Lincolnshire is behind her next goal of joining the GB Disability Trampolining Squad.
Disabled Model and Activist, Zebedee Talent, 25
Lucy has been through more in her life than the average person would in their whole lifetime. In 2016 she fell extremely ill and was mistakenly sectioned in hospital for three months. Electroconvulsive therapy didn’t go as planned, but did trigger seizures which began to bring her round. Lucy was moved onto a recovery ward, but had another seizure which caused her to roll off her bed and onto a scalding hot radiator pipe, causing a burn through her sciatic nerve. This rendered her permanently disabled in her left leg. Fortunately, the doctors were finally able to diagnose her with encephalitis – a rare brain disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy brain cells and leads to inflammation of the brain. When she was well enough to leave hospital, Lucy required round-the-clock care and had to learn how to read, write, speak and walk again, and now permanently wears a splint. Determined not to give up, Lucy bravely returned to university to complete her Criminology degree, but her ambition of becoming a dog handler in the police could not become a reality, so she decided to blog her experiences. She was spotted by local disabled modelling agency Zebedee Talent and worked on campaigns with Ann Summers, Love Honey, Pretty Little Thing, and George at Asda. Lucy started the viral hashtag #DisabledAndSexy, began coaching younger disabled models about their online presence and shared her story with national news titles.
Founder, Seaweed Culture, 21
It was in an Undergraduate of the Year Award interview, during his first year studying Law at the University of Lincoln, that Luke Smith was told to “dream bigger”. Accepting the challenge, he realised his biggest passion was tackling climate change. He wanted to truly make a difference and provide a solution – thus Seaweed Culture was born. Focusing on making the agricultural industry more sustainable, Luke’s product aims to tackle the growing problem of methane emissions from livestock. While he continued his university studies, he designed an onshore vertical system to cultivate seaweed species which can be used as a feed supplement for livestock. The same system can also be used to cultivate different seaweed species for bioplastics, biofuels, medical application, and human consumption – which creates a great potential for further expansion into different markets in the future. Feeding the seaweed species they aim to cultivate to livestock such as cattle or sheep, at just 2% of their diet, can reduce their methane emissions by up to 95% – with no effects on the quality of meat or milk. The business is now partnering with the University of Lincoln’s LIAT (Lincoln Institute of Agri- Tech) to support the development of the prototype system to introduce to investors.
Author, Hysterical Herstories, 23
Lydia Sanders is the creative force behind Hysterical Herstories, a series of five books bringing the stories of ordinary women in history who have led extraordinary lives to the minds of the next generation. Lydia graduated from Durham University in summer 2020. Instead of enjoying the sunshine in lockdown, she decided to achieve her publishing dream. Lydia researched, planned and executed the five books. She had to raise the funds, foster relationships with illustrators (Lincoln-based artist Eleanor Hancock), find printers within the UK with sustainable printing credentials; animators (Lincoln’s Electric Egg) and schools. Lydia spent the second part of lockdown talking virtually across school platforms describing her inspiration and running poetry/story-telling workshops to school children aged 6 – 12 across the UK. Within Lincolnshire, she has been invited to work with extra schooling activities for children coming into secondary education for the first time who have missed being at school during lockdown phases. Lydia has now secured funding for another series of books for younger children about their worries and concerns, and is again working with a local artist (this time Rhianne Bellis, a postgraduate from the University of Lincoln). She has also enrolled on a Masters for Creative Writing.
Creator of vegan treats, Meg’s Kitchen, 24
Megan Gell started her business in August 2020 during the pandemic, whilst also working at her full time job in a call centre. She worked hard building up her business, Vegan Treats, by cutting her full-time job to part-time in November. She then pursued her business full-time in January this year. In the space of a year, she has built up her business working from her home kitchen, creating delicious vegan sweet treats, vegan meats and cheeses. She has also recently opened her own stall in Lincoln indoor market, alongside taking and delivering orders for treat boxes and celebration cakes, plus supplying four local businesses with her vegan food. Her determination, commitment and hard work to create a successful business, where she is constantly developing new products, has been second to none during one of the most challenging years she has known. She has also been interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and by The Lincolnite about her journey to success over the last year.
Founder and CEO, Wildpoint, 25
Oliver Windle is the entrepreneur behind exciting Lincoln startup Wildpoint; a new travel website opening up gardens and private land to campers and motorhomeowners. Described as a ‘hardworking founder and CEO already gaining traction and doing everything right’, Oliver has raised another successful round of funding, built a remote-first team, found early product-market fit and is even getting national press coverage. Wildpoint was founded in December 2020 by Oliver, who loves travel and the outdoors. He previously worked at a variety of UK startups in user experience and is applying his skills to help others reconnect with what nature has to offer. Around 100 gardens, fields and outdoor spaces were available to book through the Wildpoint, and more that 4,000 hosts had applied when it launched in July 2021, from £20 a night. People can also browse existing glamping sites through the website. Oliver explained that he was aiming to fill a gap in the market for an obvious go-to platform for camping pitches in the UK. The online marketplace has a mission to “make the outdoors more accessible to all”, and even gives people the option to search for locations based on characteristics like beaches, rivers and forests.
Peter Watson & Bradley McKenny
Managing Director & Operations Director, Featured Ltd, 28 & 26
Award winning business partners Bradley McKenny and Peter Watson have consistently been two of the most exciting young entrepreneurs to watch in recent years. The pair co-own Featured Ltd, a portfolio of companies including creative advertising
and marketing agency Distract (founded in 2015), conveyancing firm Fletcher Longstaff (acquired in 2020), Rippled (online mortgage company founded in 2020) and Certified Health; a multi-disciplinary pharmaceutical and healthcare business, with brands including Unthin, a hair loss subscription service for men. Bradley McKenny, Operations Director, and Managing Director Peter first started Distract during their second year of university. Bradley offered freelance graphic design online from the age of 16 while at college. Peter, already an entrepreneur from the age of 16, once ran a YouTube channel showing instructional videos. From here, starting a social media agency seemed a natural fit. Peter spotted that businesses in the immediate area were not utilising the potential of social media in a meaningful way. The pair’s ambitious plans include the companies interacting and feeding each other’s success over time. Expanding into the recruitment, property and pharmaceutical markets demonstrates their eye for opportunity and the skills and determination to make them happen. The outstanding duo are leading the way in several areas, and are determined to grow their business portfolio.
Owner, Clear Round Media, 30
In three years, Rebecca Shepherd has gone from barely earning above minimum wage, part time with limited career prospects, to running a business with a turnover of over £90,000 and a team of five. Her success with her digital marketing business is something she says she would never have dreamed possible, physically and mentally. Rebecca spent 20 years in therapy, from the age of eight, and has worked extremely hard with a life coach to battle childhood trauma and anxiety. Rejections and challenges still come, and Rebecca still feels imposter syndrome, but has learned tools to cope and thrive. “My mindset is my mostpowerful tool”, Rebecca says, and she often shares ways for other business owners to improve theirs. Rebecca started her business out of her grandad’s spare room, to give her daughter a better life. Now, she loves telling her daughter about her clients in the local area, and the value she is offering to the community. Rebecca raised money towards a GoFundMe page by offering Social Media Audits in exchange of a donation to charity, as well as donating on behalf of every new client signed. She is now searching for her next charity to help and sponsors two local athletes.
Director, Creative Rebel CIC, 26
Ryan Lovett is described by his peers as “genuinely carefree, loving, gentle and a wonderful human who has spent a lot of his time giving back to others”. Ryan was co-opted as the councillor for Memorial Ward (North Hykeham Town Council) in 2018 and was awarded Lincolnshire’s Young Councillor of the Year 2019. During his time as councillor, he worked hard to improve communication with the local people and develop more sustainable systems. Ryan is an eco-sustainability warrior within the city. Having delivered a TEDxBrayfordPool talk on the subject, Ryan set up the C.L.E.A.N project (Clean Lincoln Everywhere and Now) which has established hubs in the city to provide free litter-picking equipment to the community. Through C.L.E.A.N litter picks, Ryan has worked with various schools, over 1,000 litter-pickers and been able to reduce landfill waste by 1000kg. His passion for the environment is ever-growing and he is gradually building a green army in the city of Lincoln.
Managing Director, Tiffin & Co Bakehouse Ltd, 26
After years aspiring to own her own business, Shannon Riglin finally took the plunge at the beginning of 2021 with her innovative bakery business Tiffin & Co Bakehouse Ltd. The brand now sells products through local retail stores, cafes and garden centres, and also nationwide through its website. It is on target to turnover £100k plus in its first year of trading, has taken on its first employee and is looking to take on more people in the near future. Shannon says she was never very academic at school, and decided to work in a local food business whilst studying at sixth form. She applied for a business degreewith the Open University, and completed this over four years, whilst also working 60+ hours per week, in order to buy her first home at 21 years old. She went on to study management based MSc at the University of Lincoln, which she graduated from with a distinction in September 2020. Shannon has many plans to develop the brand over the next few years, locally & nationally. She is aiming to move to a unit based in Sleaford in the New Year, and has also been working on many green credentials for the business.
Theatre School Owner, Duckegg Theatre Lincolnshire, 26
Shannon Toyne took to the business stage back in September 2019, launching Duckegg Theatre School Lincolnshire and North Notts. She currently runs classes at Gainsborough Trinity Arts Centre and Navenby’s Venue, with a third on the way in central Lincoln. Her work gives local children a quality and accessible way into learning and performing theatre and art. Despite the challenges posed to her as a solo, female small business owner, she has taken everything in her stride, including an outstanding adaptation from delivering physical theatre classes to keeping the same quality teaching and engagement through online classes during lockdowns. Her core ethos has been sustained through these hardships and she has made it possible for children who come from struggling families to take part in theatre through multiple scholarship schemes that give children a chance to shape talents they may have never had otherwise. In addition, her second small business, online bespoke fabric gifts company Ebb and Flow Crafting, has grown over a similar timeframe.
Professional Snooker Player, World Snooker, 26
From the age of five, Skellingthorpe’s Steven Hallworth has dedicated his life to the sport of snooker. Working his way up through the Lincoln-Boston Leagues, and representing England at the English Championships in China, he is now number 69 in the world on the one year list. Practicing eight hours a day, and attending the Ding Junhui Snooker Academy in Sheffield, his persistence and enthusiasm is a credit to him. In the German Masters in Berlin, he reached the last 32 in the world, before he was beaten by the world number 1 at the time, Mark Selby. Steven has achieved some amazing wins in the last season, beating pros including Yan Bingtao of China and his childhood favourite Jimmy White. He was also one match away from the Crucible Theatre after winning three matches in this year’s World Championships in Sheffield. Steven has recently been encouraging the next generation of players at Lincoln Snooker Club. Further to this, Steven is very knowledgeable about his sport and has also been commentating on television. Steven is well known in Lincoln and around the world with snooker fans. He has a great temperament and attitude on the table and he also possesses a great personality off the table.
Founder and Managing Director, Attract, 30
Tanvir Hassan studied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lincoln, but struggled to find his footing in this sector. He eventually braved the world of business. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, he was determined to find his niche and soon discovered he had a flair for sales and understanding people’s needs and solutions. These skills have helped him to become the highest performing salesperson in every business that he has worked in. You could say that he turned sales into something of a science! It was at a mobile phone accessories kiosk he was running in Lincoln that he met his future business partner, Georgi. Over the following years they became great friends. The pair started their design, marketing, and web agency, Attract, in October 2019, giving clients high-quality work and pushing the boundaries. Retail and hospitality were their specialism sectors, and sadly the pandemic cost them their clients at the beginning of the year. Using their resourcefulness however, they developed their innovative “Limitless Graphic Design” service which caught the attention of some prominent businesses and allowed them to build some exciting relationships.
Advocate/Public Health Speaker/Author, Mental Health Runner, 30
Thomas Dunning is the inspirational face behind Mental Health Runner, a project born from his experience surviving multiple suicide attempts and psychosis, as well as his bravery to share his story. Mental Health Runner is a platform to support, inspire and motivate others battling mental illness. His messages of hope and recovery have travelled worldwide, and led to the First Steps Forward programme. The scheme, co-founded with his wife, supports marginalised and disadvantaged individuals to access exercise as a tool for mental health recovery. Thomas candidly shared his story in his co-authored book “Surviving the war against yourself” to teach others that recovery is possible, and that there should be no shame when talking about mental illness. He works tirelessly to promote open conversations about mental health in a way that is human, accessible and completely transparent, with thousands of social media followers, a website, and runtalkrun exercise events. In addition, he is a service user governor in the local mental health trust.
Para Athlete, 17
Thomas Talbot is a remarkable top UK para athlete in a discipline called Frame Running – running on a three-wheeled trike with no pedals. Thomas has cerebral palsy diplegia, meaning he has permanent brain damage. He cannot independently walk and he has to use a walking frame or wheelchair. In the past four years he endured two major surgeries which took a toll on Thomas, but his family say he faced them with determination and immense courage. Medical procedures involved painful reconstructions of parts of his body and arduous rehabilitation. He was forced to relearn to walk over several months and was left with a significant leg length difference. Despite this, he continued schooling, achieving great reports. Not only was he determined to walk again, but his mission to get back on the race track was unstoppable. He is now ranked UK no 1 in his RR2 classification and has represented England twice. Despite ongoing, painful physiotherapy, he went on to break records and earn medals in the 2019 season. During the COVID pandemic, Thomas had to shield due to his cerebral palsy but he was determined to keep training from home. This year he was selected for the British Athletics Paralympic Development Academy. In July 2021 Thomas won three National Junior Disability Athletics Championships titles.
International Public Speaker and Author, 3Di, 29
Two years ago, Zoe was in a crisis house. She was battling with PTSD, eating disorders and suicide, believing her voice didn’t matter. Now, she is recovered, a best selling author, international public speaker and is helping others. Zoe Burnett’s recovery from a deadly mental illness is one she shares loudly, so that others do not struggle in silence. When Zoe decided to speak about her experience of Atypical anorexia at a TEDx talk in Lincoln she was nervous, and had convinced herself her story wasn’t important. Zoe started talking openly about anorexia and fought for funding and awareness across the globe. She has since spoken at international conferences and also released a book about her journey which reached number four bestseller on Amazon in its category. People reach out to her daily, seeking support for atypical anorexia, believing they are not slim enough to have an eating disorder. Zoe provides signposting support while those in need wait for access to life saving treatment. Her message is: “Anyone can struggle, any size, race, gender, ethnicity. I will not rest until the world understands this, and everyone can access the treatment they need.”
A toast to you all
You are the rising stars of Lincoln and Lincolnshire, a celebration of the future generation.
30 Under 30 is all about your achievements, which are creating a lasting legacy in the city, county and beyond.
The Lincolnite is here, thanks to our sponsors, to recognise your tireless work and ambition to overcome challenges.
It all does make a difference. Thank you!
Daniel Ionescu, Managing Director, Stonebow Media