Coura­geous chil­dren are hon­oured at city cer­e­mony

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

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.

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