COURAGEOUS, kind and determined youngsters who have battled illness, saved lives and supported their families shared their extraordinary stories at a tearful ceremony celebrating champion children.
Proud parents and siblings attended the Express’ Champion Children 2011 awards where 15 youngsters were treated to trophies, goodie bags and an afternoon performance of the pantomime Aladdin.
BBC Look North presenter Clare Frisby presented the awards to miniature heroes of all ages.
She said: “We can get caught up with the small things in family life, such as ‘have you cleaned your teeth’, ‘have you brushed your hair’, and sometime you forget what a valuable contribution our children make to our lives.
“Every one of these children are champions in their own way and we must also remember mum and dad who support their families through the hard times.”
The emotional stories saw many tears from parents, including those of Grace Stiles, 10, of Sandal, and Shamus, Kacey-Marie and Kendall Harrison, of Horbury - children who support their poorly younger siblings through life-threatening conditions.
Their parents said they had wanted to put the focus on these champions for a change.
The theme of sibling partnerships continued throughout the ceremony with 10-year-old Brogan Rigby, of Horbury, who suffers with oligoarticular juvenile arthritis.
Brogan was joined on stage by her older brother Cameron who plays a big role in supporting her through the condition that often means she has to use a wheelchair.
The ceremony also saw Luke barber, four, and his brother Harry, one, of Hemsworth, take the stage as Harry has helped Luke, who suffers with a rare defect and chronic heart and lung disease, learn how to eat.
Jacob Burbeck, 15, of Ryhill, also had the audience reaching for their hankies with his inspirational story.
Jacob was forced to grow up quickly when his mum suffered a brain haemorrhage and has since become the man of the house, learning to cook, clean and do all the washing.
Benjamin Brook, who played Aladdin in the pantomime, said the cast felt privileged to perform to such heroes.
He and Lowri Walton, who played Princess Willow, presented the brave champions with their award plaques and goodie bags at the ceremony at Theatre Royal Wakefield on Friday, December 9.