Children of Achievement awards celebrate the bravest and brightest young people in the Wakefield district

Some of the winners from the Children of Achievement awards 2019.
Some of the winners from the Children of Achievement awards 2019.

The best and brightest children from across the district were honoured at the Children of Achievement awards.

More than 300 people attended the event in Wakefield Cathedral on Friday evening, where the 10 winners were honoured with a civic reception, a police escort and an evening of entertainment.

Winners weer nominated in 10 categories, including young achiever in academia, young enterprise and sports achievement.

Winners weer nominated in 10 categories, including young achiever in academia, young enterprise and sports achievement.

Ian Taylor, one of the founders of the awards, said: “The talent in Wakefield is off the radar, we have some incredibly gifted and special young people, we should be so proud of them.

“We received so many nominations, everyone who entered was a winner.

“It’s very challenging to choose 10 young people from all the entries, but on the night we had the privilege to share our winners’ stories.

“At times it was emotionally over whelming and these young people are incredibly brave, they show so much inspiration and aspiration, I can clearly see why their families and friends are very proud of them”.

The winners were honoured with a civic reception, a police escort and an evening of entertainment at Wakefield Cathedral.

The winners were honoured with a civic reception, a police escort and an evening of entertainment at Wakefield Cathedral.

The Children of Achievement awards are organised by the Wakefield Annual Charity Christmas Lunch, which raises money to support children, charities and families across Wakefield.

Since launching in 2012, WACCL has raised more than £250,000.

This year’s winners included a teenage stroke survivor, a trainee mental health nurse and an aspiring engineer.

The group also hope to launch a Wakefield Children’s Charity later this year, which will give a board of young people the chance to help shape the district’s future.

Tyler Jessop, middle, won the Star of 2019.

Tyler Jessop, middle, won the Star of 2019.

The Star of 2019 – Sponsored by The Card Factory Foundation

Tyler Jessop suffered a traumatic brain injury, which left him registered blind, with limited use of his left hand. He is reliant on a wheelchair for his mobility, and carers for all his needs.

Despite this, Tyler attends a mainstream school, where he uses specialist equipment to complete his work.

He aspires to become a famous author, and has already won awards for his poetry, which touches on topics including war and education.

Rishie Patel, middle, was awarded the Inspiring Individual award

Rishie Patel, middle, was awarded the Inspiring Individual award

Inspiring Individual – Sponsored by Ackworth School

Rishie Patel, 14, was awarded the Inspiring Individual award as recognition for his perseverance.

A Horbury Academy student, Rishie serves on the Academy’s council, is an LGBT ambassador and a peer mentor to younger students.

An active fundraiser, Rishie also serves as a carer for his mother and younger siblings, maintains excellent levels of academic achievement and speaks out to help overcome injustice.

Young Achiever in Academia – Sponsored by Wakefield College

Ebony Fisher joined Pinderfields School at the age of 13, and studied at the school as she battled a number of serious health issues, including scoliosis, chronic pain and bradycardia.

Ebony Fisher, second from right, won young achiever in academia.

Ebony Fisher, second from right, won young achiever in academia.

Despite this, Ebony has continued to focus on her education, and has successfully secured a place at Leeds Art University.

he has served as an inspiration to patients and parents alike during her time at the hospital.

Amazing Bravery – Sponsored by OE Electrical

Year six pupil Jemima Wright was awarded the Amazing Bravery prize for saving her mother’s life, following a nomination from her teacher.

When her mum suffered an epileptic seizure while driving, Jemima took control of the car, steering the vehicle onto the grass verge, where she and her mother would be safe.

She then used her mum’s phone to call for an ambulance, and remained calm until the Air Ambulance arrived.

Courage in Battling Illness ­­– Sponsored by Wakefield Council

Sophie Baines, 8, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, cancer of the eyes, when she was just one year old, after her mum noticed that she had developed a squint.

After undergoing six months of chemotherapy, Sophie lost sight in one eye, and has undergone general anaesthetic more than 50 times as doctors check the growth of her tumours.

Despite this, and being diagnosed with a number of other illnesses, Sophie remains bright, cheerful and happy, and never complains about her appointments.

Young Ambassador – Sponsored by WDH

After struggling with her mental health as a teenager, Vienna Dooler spent several years working with mental health services.

But Vienna has refused to let her mental health defeat her, and has continued to manage her health and the side effects of her medication.

She has also worked with the team to become an expert by experience on an interview panel for staff, and is now training to become a mental health nurse.

Young Minds – Sponsored by South West Yorkshire Partnership

Reece Scott has been working with mental health support teams since he was 17, when he took three months off college to work on his mental wellbeing.

Despite this, he has not given up on himself. He and his family work to reduce mental health stigma, and Reece has secured a full time job.

He has been described as a “true inspiration”, and hopes to return to college to complete a plastering course.

Young Enterprise – Sponsored by Barclays Bank

Horbury Academy pupil Nicole Hirst designed a head support and cushion for people living with Narcolepsy.

It is designed to keep people in a stable position and injury free if they suddenly fall asleep or lose muscle control whilst travelling in a car.

Nicole’s invention has been applauded across the world, and in May she attended STEM event in Pittsburgh, USA, to display her invention.

Young Achiever in the Arts – Sponsored by Wakefield Express & 6B Digital

Farouk Alsalkhadi was given the Young Achiever in the Arts award for his dedication and friendly demeanour.

A refugee, he was one of three children to receive a full bursary to the Theatre Royal Wakefield Performance Academy, where he has been applauded for being helpful and supportive to staff and fellow students.

His determination to improve his English skills has even secured him a place in the Academy’s end of year show - Sister Act.

Sports Achievement – Sponsored by Wakefield Children’s Charity

Connor Lynes, 18, was just 14 when he suffered a massive stroke after being tackled in a rugby game. He still lives with part of the blood clot, and still suffers seizures.

An aspiring rugby league player, he has now launched his own charity, the Connor Lynes Foundation, which raises awareness of brain injury and stroke in the young.

He also became a Physical Disability Rugby League player for Wakefield Trinity in 2018 and is due to represent the district of Wakefield in Australia later this year, in the Gold Coast.

Jemima Wright was awarded the amazing bravery prize.

Jemima Wright was awarded the amazing bravery prize.

Sophie Baines, centre, was awarded for her courage in battling illness,

Sophie Baines, centre, was awarded for her courage in battling illness,

Vienna Dooler, second from left, won Young Ambassador.

Vienna Dooler, second from left, won Young Ambassador.

Reece Scott won the Young Minds award.

Reece Scott won the Young Minds award.

Nicole Hirst, second from right, won the young enterprise award.

Nicole Hirst, second from right, won the young enterprise award.