HIS story has already inspired countless others – now it has the royal seal of approval.
Lewis Cassidy, 20, was facing a life of addiction to drugs just a few short years ago but his outlook was totally transformed after a chance encounter with the Prince’s Trust.
Today life couldn’t be more different after he was named a runner-up in the charity’s annual awards celebrating young people who have endured tough starts but managed to turn around their fortunes.
At the awards - which were held at the Odeon Cinema in London’s Leicester Square - he posed for pictures with acclaimed actor Idris Elba and rapper Tinie Temper.
He even met the charity’s patron and namesake, Prince Charles.
“I’m honoured to be here today and to be recognised in this way is just amazing,” said Lewis. “Without The Prince’s Trust, I don’t know where I would be right now.
“At one point I was just living from one day to the next but they gave me the help and support I needed to turn away from my addictions and create a better future for myself.”
Lewis, who was nominated for the Flying Start award, fell in with the wrong crowd during his teens.
And when his family moved to Spain and he remained in England, matters quickly spiralled out of control.
At his worst, Lewis spent six months homeless, sleeping on friend’s sofas. It was at the suggestion of a local youth worker that Lewis was referred to The Prince’s Trust Team programme.
From there he was offered help to battle his addictions to drugs and alcohol, and encouraged to go back to college. He is now currently employed as an apprentice electro-mechanical engineer and is a regular volunteer with a youth organisation, as well as becoming a young ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.
Television presenters Ant and Dec hosted The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards in front of the youth charity’s founder and president, HRH The Prince of Wales, and a 1,500 strong audience.
Other stars in attendance included rapper Tinie Tempah, producer Mark Ronson, actor Sam Claflin, presenter Laura Whitmore, actress Helen McCrory, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, and journalist Katie Adie OBE.
Athlete Victoria Pendleton attended having been earlier presented with a CBE by HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Laura Mvula, BRITs Critics Choice Award 2013 nominee, also performed at the event.