P & A Wood - Inspirational Youth
Winner - Courtney-Lee Collins
From early on it was evident to mum Wendy that Courtney-Lee was a special child. Wendy almost lost her life when losing her twin boys. Courtney-Lee was just five years old but would, without being asked, carry bottles of water and fruit to her sick mothers side. Hugging her when she fell into an unconscious state and still there as she woke. Wendy’s granddaughter tragically passed away just ten weeks later. Courtney-Lee took over the role of 'big sister' to her other granddaughter, making sure she never experienced the loneliness of being an only child. All the while Courtney-Lee was, and continues to be, totally amazing with her younger sister Kacey- Lee who has severe autism and is totally non-verbal. Now as a young teenager Courtney-Lee’s efforts have extended to the community. She has her own fundraising groups on facebook donating all profits to charity. She’s a regular at Basildon hospital children’s wards, last dressed as Ann from Frozen, donating gifts to the patients and doing rounds of the wards so they can meet the character. Courtney-Lee is a regular donator to Thurrock’s foodbanks, and is always supporting all the charity and fundraising events she can find. Nothing is ever too much trouble. She keeps up with all this as well as studying for A levels in law, psychology and English literature. She recently began giving her time as a radio presenter for community radio station phoenix fm...becoming at just 16 their youngest ever drive show presenter. Courtney-Lee is now a young ambassador for ‘Follow Your Dreams’, a national charity supporting children and young people with special needs and learning difficulties. She has also become the youngest person in Thurrock to hold a Chaperone's license, so she can help out with community shows and events.
Mum Wendy says,
“I believe all children are treasured gifts, but I have truly never met anyone like my inspirational daughter Courtney-Lee.”
Highly Commended - David Castleman
On the 23rd July David was with his parents on a beach in Norfolk, when a rather dramatic and life threatening event took place. Seeing people in distress in the
water David did not hesitate to dive in and swim towards the men. When he reached the scene he had to make a mature and life altering decision of which of the people to rescue. He assessed signs of
life, made his choice and dragged the younger victim back to the beach. Here other people were able to offer CPR and ultimately revive the victim. Such a mature and selfless decision that many adults
would have struggled to make was taken by a very young man who showed no signs of panic.
His Nominator Ann Robinson-Smith said,
”This selflessness is truly representative of David’s caring and sharing nature both inside and outside of school.”
Highly Commended - Craig Currell
18 yrs old Craig was originally recommended to ‘Action for Family Carers’ (AFFC) as someone who relates well to young people. Being a young carer himself, he was able to offer practical and emotional support to other young people who had a caring responsibility. Craig is interested in gaining practical work experience as a possible career.
His nominator, Volunteer Coordinator, Sandra Amey-Martin, said,
“Craig brings enthusiasm and fun to the weekly club nights and takes on his role responsibly. He is always willing to learn to enable him to help more, and is extremely reliable. Besides volunteering weekly on a Wednesday, Craig was a great help over the summer break on day trips and events. Somehow
he manages his time really well alongside his own caring role at home. For us at AFFC it is fantastic to have a young male role model who is so enthusiastic about
sport and fitness. He is well liked amongst the other young carers and respected throughout the team. He is a huge asset, we are lucky to have him.”
Highly Commended - Deacon Richardson
Deacon is the weekend activities coordinator at the Earls Colne residential home. This may be Deacons weekend job but he gives 100% of himself to it. He is only 22 years old yet before he came, weekends in the home were very long, dull and quiet. As he is a student he was able and prepared to do lots of extra days in the summer. He cares about all the residents and spends time with each of them bringing so much joy and happiness. He has the most amazing kind and caring nature, he organizes musical entertainers, helps residents celebrate their birthdays, even down to discussing decorating the rooms for them. Most of the residents have some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s, however he patiently spends time with each of them adapting his games (most of which he has thought up himself) to their individual needs. He managed to organize two trips to the seaside this year so everyone who wanted to, could go, some hadn't seen the sea in 20 years. There have been several previous activity coordinators during the time my mum has been a resident, but none were a patch on him. He is an absolute angel who brings a lot of lovely elderly residents a reason to enjoy weekends again by bringing as much joy as he can to their lives now.
Highly Commended - Abbie Lineham
Abbie, despite being born with the handicap of Spina Bifida has managed to train, for seven years, with the South Essex Gymnastic Club in Basildon. The club have a disability section where she started volunteering, always conscientiously working, training or helping out with events. The club is very proud of her achievements. On Sunday, September 11 this year she became the first South Essex Club member to compete in the British Disability Gymnastics Championships at the National Sports Centre. Abbie won three historic medals for the club, a gold on the bars, a silver on the floor, and was awarded the overall bronze medal. Abbie now assists the club as a coach and has progressed to being a paid member of staff, albeit on a zero hour contract, as she is still at college.
Kayleigh Peak, South Essex Assistant Head of Gym School, said:
“We are very proud of Abbie and look forward to her future in this discipline, which can only be bright after winning three British medals.”