COURAGEOUS, kind and determined youngsters who have battled illness, saved lives and supported their families shared their extraordinary stories at a tearful ceremony.
Proud parents and siblings attended the Express’ Champion Children 2011 awards at Theatre Royal Wakefield on Friday where 15 youngsters were treated to trophies, goodie bags and a performance of the pantomime Aladdin.
BBC Look North presenter Clare Frisby hosted the awards, which honoured miniature heroes of all ages, including Jacob Burbeck, 15, of Mulberry Place, Ryhill, Luke Barber, four, of Newton Grange, Hemsworth, and Billy Lynch, five, of Smeaton Road, Upton.
Jacob spent the past four years looking after his mum, Marie, after she suffered a bleed on the brain. Since then he has been her ‘rock’ and cooked meals, washed clothes, and done the housework even though he was never asked to. He was nominated by his mum who said he is ‘a little star’.
Luke was born with a rare heart defect and chronic heart and lung disease and had to be placed in intensive care. He has since had several operation to try and rectify the problems he faced.
But despite the suffering, Luke remains to be a happy and fun-loving little boy. He was nominated by his mum Theresa Barber who said he is her champion child.
Billy has endured several heart operations and only has one lung that works but he still has a smile on his face. He was just a day old when doctors found he had a rare heart defect which meant blood was unable to flow to his lungs properly. He had surgery and had a shunt fitted when he was six days old. He was nominated by his mum, Zoe, who said he just took it on the chin.
Ms Frisby said: “We can get caught up with the small things in family life, such as ‘have you cleaned your teeth’, ‘have you brushed your hair’, and sometimes you forget what a valuable contribution our children make to our lives. Every one of these children are champions in their own way.”
Rebecca Whittington, Pontefract and Castleford Express editor, said: “Thank you to the sponsors and supporters of Champion Children, but most of all thanks to the youngsters and those who nominated them.
“All the children were true champions and it was an honour to be able to include them in this year’s event.”