'If we explore the arts while we’re young, we discover our hidden hopes and dreams, and build up an inner resource for ourselves that we can use all our lives. This resource is unique to each person, and nobody can tax it or take it away. It’s there to enhance our happiness and the happiness of the people around us, forever.
'It doesn’t matter where you start. Everybody has gifts, and it’s just a matter of working out what they are and finding the help we need to develop them. I’m proud to back Arts Award, because I believe that they will help not only each young artist but the community around them, and add to the pool of talent we have in our country. Everyone who takes part should gain in confidence and self-belief, and gain the courage to aim high and make the very best of their talents.'