THREE weeks ago, courageous Hucknall teenager Abbie Sims travelled to London to be presented with a very special award.
Now Abbie (16), of Penhale Drive, Hucknall, has picked up another prestigious accolade — and this time she did not have to leave her home town to receive it.
For Abbie, who has battled against a life-threatening brain tumour from the age of seven, was handed the girls’ award at the annual Pride Of Hucknall presentation evening, held at the Central Methodist Church on Baker Street.
This was a fitting follow-up to Abbie’s trip to London where she won the Bravest Young Person category at the WellChild Awards. During the ceremony, Abbie met and chatted with Prince Harry, who is the charity’s patron.
The Pride award for boys went to 15-year-old Ben Stewart, of Kendal Close, Hucknall. Ben was chosen partly for his contribution to activities organised by the King’s Family Church on Derbyshire Lane, Hucknall. He has run charity events that featured everything from waxing legs to making cakes.
He has also been involved in shows at Hucknall National Church Of England Academy, where he is a student, and he has been a “great support” to a pupil whose mother has died.
The Pride Of Hucknall award scheme, which has now been running for four years, was inaugurated in memory of the late Coun Nellie Smedley, a long-serving Hucknall Labour member of Notts County Council. It now also commemorates Nellie’s sister, Louie Bean, who died last year.
Abbie, who goes to Holgate Comprehensive School, was described in the nomination by her head of year as a “truly remarkable young lady who has battled serious illness in the most positive and determined way possible”.
Since being diagnosed with the tumour, Abbie has been through nine operations, numerous blood transfusions and 14 months of chemotherapy over the years.
An operation which she underwent after the tumour returned in 2009 was successful but had an adverse impact on her, including loss of memory. But she was determined to succeed with her studies and gained seven A grades and two Bs in her GCSEs this year.
A special commendation medal was presented at the Pride ceremony to Helen Dearden (16), of The Drift, Hucknall, who has been a “huge support” to Abbie at Holgate, such as meeting her at the school entrance and making sure she gets to the right classroom safely.
In all, there were 21 nominees, who all received medals. The others were:
Holgate School — Duncan Vickers-Smith (throws himself into the school curriculum despite special-needs disabilities), Thomas Moss (has also triumphed over adversity), Megan Price (has a commitment to the arts in school that is second-to-none), Carter Newton (selected for the Nottinghamshire under-16 golf team), Kirsty Peat (chosen to represent Nottinghamshire netball team for the third year running) and Simeon Janickyj (completed 100% attendance at a seminary programme for religious studies).
National School — Matthew Allcock (picked for the English schools athletics team to compete in triple jump and high jump), Joseph Priestley and Shane Moulson (run football training/coaching sessions with the Hucknall Sports club), Robert Needham (won gold medal in 800m for senior boys at Aviva English Schools Athletics Championships), Caprice Miloro (achieved third place for gymnastics in Nottinghamshire Schools Athletics Championships), Jordan Trueman (plays basketball for Hucknall Hornets), Luke Mitchell (also plays for Hornets and Nottingham Nova and is East Midlands under-13 captain), Isobel Johnson (dedicated to doing charity work), Ellie Dawson (a member of Nottinghamshire Netball Academy), Emily-Beatrice Hallam (supported and cared for a year-seven pupil throughout the year), Thomas Cable (went on church trip to South Africa to help needy people) and Shayne Craig (gained prestigious football awards).
Coun Trevor Locke, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield District Council, was MC for the presentations, which were made by former Dispatch chief reporter Denis Robinson.
The first part of the event was devoted to a concert by Hucknall and Linby Mining Community Brass Band, conducted by Paul Whyley. The band’s programme included ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, the signature tune of the England Rugby Union team who are currently aiming to win the World Cup in New Zealand.