Inspirational Youth - Sponsored by P & A Wood
Winner - Renee Lewis-Driver
Renee’s medical problems began when she was only 8 weeks old, she was diagnosed with a very rare lung disease. Over the next few years her health continued to be unstable, requiring oxygen and transfusions on a 24hour basis. Great Ormond Street decided to change her transfusions to a far less painful and traumatic ‘subcut’ method, taking 2 hours in every week, this has now been the case for 13 years. Her parents were told that she might not make it to adulthood without a heart and lung transplant. Luckily Renee has proved them wrong. However there have been many complications and mountains for Renee to climb. She still needs oxygen for 10 to 12 hours each night, and it appears that her future will always consist of that need, plus medications, transfusions, numerous blood tests and hospital appointments. Despite it all Renee remains a happy, polite, caring and moreover determined young lady. She was nominated by her school’s assistant head of house, Carolyn Harvey, who informed us that Renee had won an award at school given annually to the student who has achieved despite adversity. In the summer Renee sat 7 GCSE’s and passed every single exam.
Highly Commended - Jess Folley
Jess inspired a whole generation of young people in Essex this year when winning the first ever ‘KIDS
VOICE.’ She also impressed her Essex based mentor ‘Pixie Lott’ with her powerful and beautiful
voice and the polite way she conducted herself throughout the competition. We thank her for helping us this evening and are delighted to include her in our awards.
Highly Commended - Abigail Greenslade
Abigail has a very large and very close family. When suddenly in the space of just 4 weeks two of their most loved seniors passed away they were near to breakdown. That’s when Abigail put aside her own needs and made the caring of her 5 siblings and 6 cousins her first priority. She got them up in the morning, gave them breakfast, made packed lunches, ensured that they all had a way to get to school, prepared dinner in the evening and settled them into their beds. She consoled them and put their grief in front of her own. For Abigail there was no time left for friends, clubs and parties, but she made time for college and completed her studies into childcare and passed her exam. There were many nominations for Abigail but the last word should come from her Nan Catherine who wrote, “She is a role model and an inspiration to youth. I have nominated her so she can realize how much she is loved and how much everyone appreciates her hard work.”
Highly Commended - Rylee Doe
Rylee is an outstanding young man who, for the last two years, has selflessly organized a charity football match. He arranges local sponsors, professional looking programs and publicity through social media. Last year he persuaded a professional player from Southend United to attend. He encourages the players from both teams to pay the pitch fees themselves to make as much money as possible for the charity. The match in 2017 supported Macmillan Cancer Support, he set himself a target hoping to raise Eight Hundred pounds eventually he raised just short of Eighteen Hundred Pounds! He is currently allowing the public to vote on which charity the match should support in 2018.
Highly Commended - Esther Greene
Esther is an amazing young lady, courageous and inspiring, while bravely enduring her fourth battle with cancer. She maintains a positive attitude and is determined to attend Cambridge University as planned. She never utters a word of complaint and is the most kind-hearted, caring and thoughtful person, always putting others before herself and keeping her family strong in the process.
Highly Commended - Max Wooldridge
Max is a natural dancer having, since the age of four, attended dance competitions with his elder sister Emily. Despite occasional bullying at school Max retained his passion for dance. To name a few of his achievements, he has made the top level for his age group ‘champs’ category, he has been placed fifth in National finals at Blackpool, became Essex champion at the Essex freestyle finals, he has won ‘supreme’ titles at national competitions, and so much more, the list is almost endless. Max attends the Pendrill competitive dance school in Halstead, who compete all over the country almost every weekend. Max also attends a class at his old Primary school in Earls Colne where he volunteers as a teacher alongside the principal. He continues to show his support to younger dancers, either by setting up a routine, or giving them a talk and a thumbs up, to give them confidence before they take to the floor. In the words of his sister Emily “Everyone in his life respects him and would love to see him recognised for his courage, kindness and talent”