6 young people receive Awards Of Courage from the Rotary Clubs of Newark and Newark Castle
Six young people who have overcome illness and adversity have been recognised with awards.
They were the recipients of the annual Awards of Courage, organised by the Rotary Clubs of Newark and Newark Castle.
This year’s winners were Amber Abbott, nominated by Newark College; Emily Bailey, nominated by the Children’s Bereavement Centre; Olivia Morton, nominated by Tuxford Academy; Rhys Parkes, nominated by Magnus Church of England Academy; Thomas Powers, nominated by Newark Academy; and Frazer Wright, nominated by Newark Orchard School.
Event compere Dave Strange said the ceremony was to honour six young people who, against all the odds, had shown tremendous courage in dealing with and overcoming difficulties in their personal circumstances.
“The six young people honoured here today are an example to us all of the wonderful youngsters we have here in Newark and it is a privilege to be in their company. They are all to be congratulated,” he said.
The ceremony is usually held at Newark Showground, but could not go ahead in that format this year because of the coronavirus restrictions.
Instead, an online awards ceremony took place, which was attended by many Rotarians .
“This year’s awards are, to say the least, a little different,” said Mr Strange.
“As soon as it became clear that the usual event could not take place with a lunch in March, we were committed to ensuring it was not cancelled as many other events have been.
“It was postponed until May, which fortunately allowed recipients to attend their individual school, college or organisation to have their award presented.
“Alas, we were still unable to meet for lunch but are attempting to have this year’s event on Zoom.”
Each winner received a trophy and a certificate.
Amber Abbott — Lincoln College, Newark campus
Amber was nominated by Newark College for her resilience.
She has an issue with her knee, which causes it to collapse without warning — but it never stops her from getting on with life, she never makes a fuss and always works hard.
Online lessons during the coronavirus pandemic suited Amber but on the morning of her first English exam, her knee collapsed and she had to be taken home.
Despite still struggling with her knee, Amber made it to the second part of the exam, and in January she discovered she had the grade she had been working towards.
Lynne Baker her former English teacher said: “Her resilience knows no bounds, I am sure she will be a success at whatever she puts her mind to.”
Emily Bailey — Children's Bereavement Centre
Over the years, Emily has experienced multiple loss of significant people in her life, including her mother who died suddenly when she was six.
At the age of ten she was diagnosed with scoliosis, with two curvatures in her spine, and in 2019 under went a ten-hour operation.
Rachel Wilson, of the Children’s Bereavement Centre, said Emily was a true inspiration.
At the start of 2019, Emily found her dad unconscious in the dining room with a severe head injury.
She called an ambulance, followed the operator’s instructions and fetched the neighbours. When the paramedics arrived she calmly helped move the dogs to let the ambulance crew move her dad.
“She was calm, unflappable and reacted well to the situation,” said Rachel.
After her corrective surgery in 2019, which involved putting titanium and cobalt rods and screws into her bones, Emily had to learn to walk, bend, and stretch again.
While she was in intensive care her father, Nick, told her she had to get better because he had bought tickets for Little Mix — she made the concert.
Rachel said: “During her young life, Emily has faced many, many challenges yet despite her own adversity she has always been there to support others, showing care, courage and determination like no other.
“We nominated Emily because she is an example to us all, an example that despite the challenges that life can throw at you with determination to get through it all, she has managed to do that.”
Olivia Morton — Tuxford Academy
Olivia was born deaf and at the age of 14 found that she had Usher syndrome, a very rare genetic condition that combines deafness and progressive sight loss.
In spite of this, Olivia is an incredibly engaged, enthusiastic and dedicated student.
Sarah Pallant, of Tuxford Academy, said: “Olivia is kind, caring, funny, conscientious, extremely hard-working and she also has a steadfast determination to succeed — and that’s not easy given the challenges she has faced, and continues to face each day and will do in future.”
“She never makes excuses and works harder than I could ever expect a student to work.
“Olivia’s mindset genuinely inspires me every day; she is a lesson to us all about writing your own life story, rather than letting it be written by things outside of your control.”
Olivia has moderate to severe hearing loss and her eyesight is also deteriorating which makes her lip-reading more difficult.
“Despite these ever changing challenges, you will never hear Olivia complain — she digs deep, communicates her feelings with her friends and teachers and shows remarkable courage day in and day out; as her history teacher says, she is unflappable,” said Sarah.
“Olivia doesn’t let her challenges get in the way of life and doing what she loves. Her success at school, academically and socially, is a testament to this.”
Olivia writes a blog and has an Instagram page to share her experiences with others about Usher syndrome.
“Olivia remains humble and self-deprecating despite her obvious courage and this is a quality that makes her so likeable and a pleasure to have in our school,” said Sarah.
“She is truly remarkable and a fantastic example of how we have the ability to write our own story, rather than letting it be written for us.”
Rhys Parkes — Magnus Church of England Academy, Newark
Rhys has learning needs and a physical disability that affects the left side of his body after a stroke when he was just 11 months old.
He has had several corrective surgeries, one of whch was only three weeks ago, but has never let this stop him achieving any of his goals.
Louise Whitehead, of Magnus, said: “Despite all of the barriers he faces, Rhys embodies our school values of determination, ambition, integrity, humility and compassion.
“He shows determination every day of school by not allowing anything to stand in the way of him participating in all activities, including PE lessons.
“He never complains about pain or how awkward it is for him to move around the school, he just gets on with it.
“He has been outstanding throughout the current pandemic. He has never let the restrictions or changes to the school routine affect him.
“He’s a wonderful young man who has a bright future ahead of him and we at Magnus are very proud of him.”
Thomas Powers — Newark Academy
Thomas who lost his mum at a young age, has additional learning needs and he finds understanding the world and the world around him very challenging.
Despite this, he is a thriving member of the academy sixth form and is heading to university in September.
Sally Goodman, of Newark Academy, said: “We are thrilled and delighted he has got this award.
“He has had a rocky ride right up until year 13. However, he has flourished and blossomed and now socialises fully with our year 13s.
“He still has a 100% attendance at school, he’s overcome all his difficulties and we are so very proud of him.”
Thomas applied for five universities and was accepted at all five.
He is now planning to study geography and Glasgow University.
Frazer Wright — Newark Orchard School
In nominating Frazer for the award, Kelly Jones, of Orchard School, said: “Frazer is an incredibly positive and happy young man who is always full of smiles.”
Frazer has been at Orchard School since 2003 and leaves this year to go to college.
When asked for their memories of him, many referred to his singing, including leading a camp singalong in the rain.
Kelly said: “It has been a pleasure to watch him grow into the amazing young man we have here today.
“He always approaches his day with enthusiasm and happiness and often this positivity will cheer up even the most gumpiest of person.
Frazer was nominated for the award for how he has dealt with his medical issues over the last few years.
Despite having to reduce his time at school, it never stopped his enthusiasm, and he has taken his many tests and appointments with grace and dignity.
Kelly said: “He has never lost his sense of humour in the face of all the changes he has had in the last few years and even when he’s having a bad day, he still finds time to be happy.
“We are all so incredibly proud of Frazer and sad we haven’t been able to spend as much time we wanted to with him over the last two years but we know he will go on to have an amazing time at college and continue to be the wonderful young man who brings enthusiasm and positivity to everything that he does.”