A Central Otago teen who made national headlines last year for an innovative anti-bullying campaign, has been honoured by the Queen with a Young Leaders Award.
Ashleigh Smith founded the Sticks 'n' Stones anti-bullying program in 2013, which mentors school students throughout Otago and Dunedin on mental health issues - implementing anti-bullying initiatives.
And the campaign's reach got a huge boost today, as Ashleigh personally received a leadership award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
"I really cried, it was so overwhelming, every single young person that is back home that has fought for the same things that I have for so long," Ashleigh said.
"I'm so proud to be representing them and I just hope they know that award is for them as well. Just reflecting on what we did to get here, it's so overwhelming."
Ashleigh said the Queen told her she sounded like a very busy person when she described all that was involved in running the Sticks 'n' Stones program.
Next stop for Ashleigh on the Royal tour was a chat with Prince Harry on how to improve mental-health among young people.
"Oh my goodness, I can't keep up. I'm surprised I can even put a sentence together," Ashleigh said on her way to the meeting.