Some of Bassetlaw’s most deserving youngsters have been honoured at the Rotary Clubs of Bassetlaw’s 19th annual courage awards at the Masonic Hall.
Pauline Crawshaw, organiser, said: “The awards are given to young people who have had to cope with all manner of difficulties.
“Rotary clubs are pleased to be able to let them know what they do does not go unnoticed.”
Certificates and shopping vouchers were presented by
Councillor David Challinor, Bassetlaw District Council’s civic chairman, told the youngsters: “It takes someone special to achieve so much in spite of events beyond your control and the problems that you have to overcome every day.
“It is an honour to be here.”
There were seven awards for students from six different schools and colleges across the district plus one, more poignant, presentation.
Lewis Cranfield was nominated by St Giles School in Retford, but died from cancer before he could receive it.
His mum Amelia attended the ceremony and heard a tribute from school staff, which said: “Lewis was a remarkable young man.
“This became evident to you within a short time of getting to know him. “He was warm and generous, kind and fair, and he was liked and respected by everyone in the school community.”
The ceremony heard how on visits to hospital, staff would give Lewis different coloured beads for courage.
By the time he died, he had a string of 363 beads, 2.5 metres long, ending with a glass butterfly.
Imogen, his sister, was also nominated by Outwood Academy Portland, whose Year 7 learning manager Jordan Howard said: “I am unbelievably proud of how well Imogen settled back into school. She is resilient, always tries hard, and is well liked by staff and peers. She always brightens everyone’s day with her smile.”
Imogen was one of two Portland students to get an award, and not the only one whose life was touched by cancer.
Jack McNamara was nominated for helping care for his mum through three years of illness until her death in 2017.
Carol Bradley, learning manager, said: “He has continued to attend school and continues to be an outstanding student. “We respect and admire him for being such a very special young man. I know his mum would be so proud of him. He is truly a credit to his family.”
Outwood Valley student Millie Hayes was nominated for overcoming a massive challenge in her life over the last year while still being one of her year’s top achievers and working with the district youth council.
Teacher Alys Nixon said: “Her passion for politics and equality is inspiring. I’m sure she will be Prime Minister one day.
£Even though she has her own difficulties to deal with she helps out with younger and more challenging students as a buddy and role model.”
Reece Clarke was nominated by Retford Oaks Academy for the manner in which he responded to his father’s terminal cancer diagnosis and death in January this year.
Reece supported both of his parents while working toward his GCSEs and holding down a part-time job.
Teacher Lee Hardeman said: “Reece is always polite, smartly presented, kind and is always willing to help others or represent the academy.”
Fabian Smolarz was nominated from the Elizabethan Academy for the willpower and dedication he displayed while fighting blood cancer.
A spokesman said: “Staff are proud of Fabian and his resilience and ability to kick back. He is an inspiration to us all.”
Jaysen Surrs is currently studying for a catering qualification at North Nottinghamshire College, and has become an outstanding learner after many years of being extremely disengaged from the education system which took a toll on his family.
A college statement said: “The distance he has travelled in such a short time is exemplary and Jaysen has shown courage and resilience in the face of adversity.
“It is now his tutor’s intention to get him to realise his own potential to have the confidence to gain employment and become a valued member of a team.”
Harvey Ford-Simms, of Tuxford Academy, was the final award recipient, having endured a testing year of medical treatments for a rare birth defect affecting his brain.
Academy spokesman Liona Ashley said: “Harvey would seldom complain about the pain which he was forced to put up with and was determined to make it into school, demonstrating an impeccable attitude.
“He is an inspiration, a pleasure to talk to, and a humble, understated young man and does not realise how exceptional he really is.”
The awards were made possible by support from Spar in Ordsall and contributions from district councillors’ community grants.