REMARKABLE achievements and extraordinary strengths of character of five young people from Grantham were rewarded on Wednesday at the Children of Courage Awards.
In its first year, the ceremony aimed to recognise how the youngsters have overcome adversity to make the most of life.
The awards were organised by the Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven and held at the Ramada Hotel. Following the presentation, Paralympic dressage star Emma Sheardown gave a truly inspirational talk which brought tears to the eyes of many of the Rotarians, councillors and partners present.
Rotary president Marion Strange said: “It has been an emotional occasion.”
One by one, the brave youngsters were invited to the lecturn to collect their award.
l Speaking afterwards, Daniel Storey, 15, from Ambergate Sports College, said: “This means a lot. I’m just happy that I can help the kids at the school and be an inspiration to them. It’s nice to be recognised.”
He was nominated by principal in charge of pastoral care Ann White, who said: “This award means the world to Daniel. This young boy has overcome so much in a short space of time.
“He will remember this for the lest of his life.”
l Max Everett, a 16-year-old pupil of the Priory Ruskin Academy, said: “For the five of us here, it’s great to be recognised for how much trauma and pain we’ve been put through and how well we have done out of it.
“It means a lot to me and it’s nice to be recognised by adults.”
His nominee was science teacher and form tutor Jo Matthew. She said: “This is a good opportunity to view them as people and reward their courage and personal attributes.”
l Casey Cant, 14, is a pupil of West Grantham Academy St Hugh’s. She was over the moon to have met Emma Sheardown, and was asked to present her with a bunch of flowers after her speech. Casey said: “I think it’s been really good today. I’ve had a good time, but I’ve been a bit nervous.
“It was nice to meet Emma.”
Margaret Robinson nominated Casey. She said: “We’re really proud of her.”
l Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School pupil Stephanie Whincup, 16, said: “I’m really honoured to be invited here with everyone else.
“I think it’s good the Rotary Club is trying to make it a yearly event so pupils from different schools will have the same experience as me.”
Assistant headteacher Jayne Tyler said: “This is a brilliant idea because within a school you know about these young people but this is a chance for the school to celebrate what they can achieve.”
l Lauren Smith, 17, attends Walton Girls’ Sixth Form. She has an admirable ‘just get on with it’ attitude, but said: “It’s really good that everyone here has been recognised for what they’ve achieved.”
Special educational needs co-ordinator Sandie Watkins said: “Lauren doesn’t realise how special she is. She’s very modest, never complains and never asks for help.
“She just cracks on with her head down when, actually, she does wonderful things, but in a quiet and unimposing way.”