Courageous children are honoured at city ceremony
UNSUNG HEROES in their own right, their courage, determination and strength during unimaginable circumstances inspires everyone around them.
A handful of the region’s bravest and most inspirational children received the recognition they deserved at last night’s Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards.
Celebrating the achievements of courageous and determined youngsters, hundreds of people attended the eighth annual awards dinner at Leeds’ New Dock Hall yesterday.
Fronted by presenter Louise Minchin, the starstudded ceremony was also raising money for the St James’s Place Charitable Foundation, which has given out more than £75m worth of grants to worthy charities.
Among the line-up of top-tier attendees cheering on the children was comedian Jack Carroll and Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, from Halifax, alongside Rotherham’s Paul Elliott, whose brother Barry, forming the other half of the Chuckle Brothers, died earlier this year. Award-winning children included Sarah Emmott, from Tadcaster, whose battle in the first years of her young life captured the hearts of judges this year, honouring her with the Special Recognition award for under 12s.
The five-year-old has been battling a severe genetic kidney disease, and other complex health problems, since she was born.
Sarah has never eaten a meal, fed intravenously for three years and now nasally, and she suffers from daily pain.
Despite having two injections every day and visiting the hospital’s dialysis unit regularly for protein infusions, her mother, Elaine, said she’s “always smiling”.
“I feel delighted that she has been nominated because she deserves it as well,” said her mother, Elaine Emmott.
“There are a lot of poorly children out there, but she has gone through hell and back.
“The pain she has had in her short life and she still smiles almost all of the time. She is infectious – extraordinary is what I call her. People who meet Sarah are almost spell-bound by her. She might be tiny but her personality is huge and she makes up for that.”
While Sarah is battling on, unfortunately her kidneys are rapidly declining, and Mrs Emmott said she will soon be in need of an organ transplant.
Meanwhile, honours were also given out to older children, including Leeds’ own Nitasha Mustafa, who scooped the Fundraiser accolade. The 14-year-old, from Roundhay, raised hundreds of pounds for cancer charities after her cousin died following a battle with cancer.
Her mother, Aseia Mustafa, said: “When he got poorly, that inspired Nitasha. She would go to hospital to see him and other children who were on the ward.”
Tim Willis, head of location at St James’s Place Leeds, which organised the ceremony, said: “We are once again extremely proud to host an amazing evening recognising the courage and achievements of some of Yorkshire’s finest young people, whilst at the same time raising funds for our charitable foundation.”
George Hall, Nitasha Mustafa, Jaxon Moore-Green, Sarah Emmott, Cameron Osburn, Dennis Randall, Bailey Matthews and Eleanor Risdon at the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards 2018 last night at Leeds’s New Dock Hall.