SOUTHEND clothing business owners Takondwa Maosa and Daniel Fairhead received a highly commended recognition by the Pride of Essex Awards.

The judges recognised their efforts in making their business, Divided London, thrive during challenging times within the "inspiring youth" category.

Aspects of the business stood out including the fact they have contributed to charity through the business and last year hosted a Divided London football match where all the money received was donated to charity.

Echo: Pride of Essex - Takondwa and DanielPride of Essex - Takondwa and Daniel (Image: Pride of Essex)

They have also visit their former secondary school to address assemblies to help motivate the pupils.  "It was an amazing event and to be recognised for our efforts in the community was an astonishing feeling," said Takondwa, of the awards which were announced at the end of November.

"It means a lot to have even been recognised for an award like the one we received, but to have actually been officially nominated by people who have been inspired by what we’ve created and the message Divided London attempts to spread is really motivating for both of us! Hopefully by typical young guys like us receiving an award and being recognised for hard work, other people will also realise their hard work can also be noticed and will pay off."

Daniel said: "It will definitely be a boost for Divided London’s progress, since the award ceremony, many new people have been seeing us and even reaching out to us asking questions about the brand and advice on their business’ and projects which we’re always happy to answer!"

Echo: Daniel, town crier Tony Appleton and TakondwaDaniel, town crier Tony Appleton and Takondwa (Image: Pride of Essex)

The overall winner of the "inspiring youth" category was Libby Cotts who was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anaemia, a rare blood disorder. She is now classed as cured and has helped others find donors and inspired people to fundraise. Her family set up the Love for Libby campaign and raised more than £300,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

The "ultimate award" of the Pride of Essex went to Gill Punt who lost her father at a young age to cancer of the bile duct. In 23 years, she has inspired thousands to join her in running everything from one mile to full marathons and raised funds almost one and a half million pounds for cancer charities.