Children of Courage 2018 – The Award Winners
Daisy Freeman is 8 years old and in Year 3 at St Botolph’s School, Sleaford. Tragically, when she was 4, she lost her mummy in a car accident. Her father eventually remarried but in 2016, her ‘new’ mum had a serious accident at home resulting in a broken neck and she is now paralysed from the chest down. Daisy very bravely and calmly took hold of the situation and called 999 asking for help from the emergency services.
Daisy took on more for herself, getting ready for school and helping her younger brother get ready. Major changes had to be made to the family home to enable her mum (who was confined to a wheelchair) return home. During this time Daisy took things in her stride, helping to make sure life went on as normally as possible by making breakfast, packing school bags and getting homework done without being chased. Daisy is a truly amazing little girl and a true pleasure to teach and be around. She is a ray of sunshine.
Freya Cook is currently in year 8 at St George’s Academy, Sleaford campus. She has Lumbosacral myelomeningocele (a form of Spina Bifida). This causes a number of issues for her, she uses a Kaye walker and a wheelchair to get around school and she has daily physio. Academically Freya is doing really well, she always achieves full effort grade 1’s in her termly reports. Freya is a hugely active member of the Academy. She loves singing and is in the choir, she has performed in concerts in school, in the local church and in competitions in Skegness. Freya takes an active part in PE, representing her house team and has done cross-country. She is a very cheerful and courageous student who never complains about the many challenges she faces. A real inspiration.
Reece Martin is currently in year 9 at St George’s Academy, Ruskington campus. He has Cystinosis which is a very serious condition affecting his kidneys. He is on medications and may need a transplant in the future. The difference between him and his peers is becoming more evident each day as part of his condition means he does not grow at the same rate as others. Additionally, he has issues with his wrists which means joining in with sports can be quite challenging. Initially, Reece did not want his peers to know about his condition. Recently, however, Reece has asked that they be told and bravely allowed an assembly on his condition in school. Reece is also working with the Academy’s Rotary Interact club on raising money for Cystinosis charity. Reece is about to embark on his GCSE courses which he is in the process of choosing now. Reece is quietly determined and just gets on despite his pain and tiredness.
Harry Ratcliffe is a Cub Scout at the 3rd Sleaford Kestrel Cubs. Harry and his friend Joseph Thorpe decided they needed a personal challenge – something that would test their mettle and their friendship. Whilst spending time with their families on a sunny July day they decided upon the Yorkshire three peaks challenge to earn their Hikes and Navigator badges in cubs. Harry had completed 18 miles of the route when things started to fall apart. All the hard work of learning map reading, bearings and survival skills cannot prepare you for the hiker’s downfall – blisters. Trying valiantly to continue, Harry knew the task would only get harder and with a heavy heart and devastation in his eyes he knew his quest would end 6 miles short of its target. But above all he has not been deterred and will only come back stronger and even more determined.
Joseph Thorpe is a Cub Scout at the 3rd Sleaford Kestrel Cubs and along with his friend Harry Ratcliffe, they decided to tackle the three Yorkshire peaks challenge. A grueling 12 hour trek up mountain paths was made harder each step by the howling winds, torrential rain and slippery mud everywhere. The conditions were so bad, adults were getting lost but Joseph, Harry and their family supporters were able to point lost walkers back on the right path. Joseph conquered the peaks with 15 minutes to spare. A truly epic challenge full of courage, laughter, tears and determination to succeed and an inspiration to our other scout group members.
Kelsie Mullins was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 and not long after she started the William Alvey School in Reception. She has found it increasingly difficult to manage her autism and has battled with anxiety, all at the same time as dealing with the rigours of the primary curriculum. Kelsie is now in Year 6, her final year in primary school. Kelsie is a bright, caring and fun-loving child, she is a ray of sunshine in our school. She has the innate ability to make her teachers and peers feel amazing, always complimenting them on their choice of outfit, a piece of jewellery or their kindness. She is an extremely intelligent individual but can become quite frustrated with the speed at which her brain allows her to complete tasks. She never gives up and shows amazing determination. This incredible outlook on life is often projected through Kelsie’s voice as she loves singing. You can often hear her voice above all others in our assemblies. Every year she takes part in our sports day and no matter which event she chooses, it will always be to the chorus of the loudest cheers. She is an extremely popular member of her class and school, a celebrity amongst her peers.
Leah Hall, who is in the 6th form at Carre’s Grammar School, first started figure skating at the age of 8, having gained experience in roller skating and gymnastics prior to this. Leah started to compete in her local club and experienced a great deal of success, with four top 4 finishes. Within three years, Leah had qualified for National-Level competitions, completing advanced grades 1 – 7 and reaching ‘National 1’. In April 2016, Leah was struck by a severe case of Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and lost the use of her legs. By the end of July 2016, with treatment proving to be ineffective, doctors told Leah that it would be unlikely that she would be able to walk unassisted again.
Leah was determined to get back onto the ice and skate again and by December 2016, she had qualified to participate in Inclusive Skating, a national group of skaters with a variety of disabilities varying from epilepsy, cerebral palsy and amputees. This gave Leah the opportunity to skate again and to compete at International level.
In April 2017, Leah competed in the National Inclusive Skating Championships held in Glasgow. Leah achieved 2nd place in the ‘elements’ and 1st in the ‘free programme’, enabling her to gain the title of Junior National Runner-Up. Leah’s success did not go unnoticed and she was nominated for the category of Young Disabled Sportsperson of the Year at the Lincolnshire Sports Awards in November 2017. Leah now has the ambition of attending the National Inclusive Championships in 2018 and to participate in the Vail, Colorado International in 2018 as well as returning to Nationals at ‘National 3’ in the future.
Sarina James is an inspirational and caring young lady. She is a young carer to her mum who has Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) and her brother Joel who has Cerebral Palsy and Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). Sarina, however, does not necessarily identify herself with this role as her kind-heartedness means she is always ready to support and encourage those around her. This is also reflected in the strong friendship group Sarina has formed since starting at Kesteven and Sleaford High School. Sarina is an early riser and alongside her dad spends her mornings and evenings busily involved in household activities and ensuring her mum and brother’s needs are met, yet she comes to school each day cheerful and without complaint. She copes incredibly well with the demands of school life and ensuring homework is complete, you would never know.