Nine youngsters were honoured in a moving ceremony at Mansfield Rotary Club’s annual Courage Awards on Tuesday.
Held at Mansfield Civic Centre, the event - now in its 23rd year - recognised the achievements of those who flourish in the face of adversity.
Families, friends and teaching staff were all at yesterday’s moving ceremony, where they saw each individual receive a certificate and a plaque.
Garibaldi College student Georgia Whitehead is devoted to caring for several family members, even though she has her own medical conditions.
The 13-year-old, who lives in Clipstone with her mother Lindsey, has been put forward for an award by student manager Dawn Hembrow.
Said Dawn: “She is a young carer for mum, grandma and auntie. Georgia has had to deal with a number of medical conditions from a very young age and had her appendix removed in the summer of 2013.
“She has cared for family members since she was six but has always kept a positive attitude and a ‘sunny’ disposition.
“She always makes time to support her friends and works extremely hard to keep up with her studies.”
Georgia’s hobbies include horse riding and ice skating and her favourite subject is science.
She enjoys the experiments within the science curriculum and is achieving well in all her subjects.
Georgia has an ambition to be a nurse so that she can continue supporting and caring for others within her career.
Emma Sanders continues to excel in her studies with Blue Mountain Education and West Notts College - as well as succeeding to work through her ‘own personal challenges’.
The 16-year-old, who currently lives in residential care at Willow Farm at Cossall, successfully completed a year’s entry course into childcare at the college in 2012/2013 and is now studying on the CACHE Level 1 Diploma in Caring for Children.
She has been nominated by her college tutor, Leslye Henstock.
“She is bright, enthusiastic, hard-working, creative and always enters into any activity with enthusiasm and a positive attitude,” she said. “She is being awarded the highest grades in all of her assignment work.
“Emma has not always had this confidence though. She currently lives in residential care at Willow Farm, where, over the past two years, she is succeeding to work through her own personal challenges in coping with a very wide range of emotional issues.
“To meet Emma today, a person would not believe the complexities she has coped with in her short lifetime. She is now looking at her life more objectively and she is becoming a good role model for children and peers. Emma can still struggle at times, but she does not let it impact on her college studies, as she is determined, despite any personal difficulties she may face, to succeed in her studies.”
Emma has a keen interest in working with and looking after animals at her residential care home, where there are a number of different animals for which she takes responsibility.
Not surprisingly, her favourite college subject is childcare and has found that it meets her interest of looking after and supporting young people.
On completing her studies, she has a long-term aim of working either as a mid-wife or a teacher. In the short term, she will be completing further childcare courses and starting work experience in a nursery.
Brunts Academy student Chloe Henton has been nominated for her tireless support of a family member through a ‘severe’ illness.
She has been put forward for the award by the Park Avenue school’s deputy headteacher Martin Heartfield, who also believes her charity work for the Brains Trust should also be recognised.
The brain cancer charity is dedicated to improving clinical care for brain tumour sufferers and providing co-ordinated support in its search for treatment.
Fifteen-year-old Chloe, who lives in Mansfield with her mother Alyson, enjoys hobbies such as horse riding and dancing.
Her favourite subject is biology and her ambition is to become a marine biologist.
Two-year-old Georgia Carlin truly is ‘an inspirational ray of sunshine’ to everyone who knows her - and she is also the youngest Courage Award nominee.
The toddler has been nominated by Mansfield-based charity A Place To Call Our Own (APTCOO) - which provides support to children and young people with a disability or additional need, their carers and families.
Georgia, who lives in Selston with her mum Gail, has recently undergone cranial surgery and requires 24-hour support because of her ‘very complex needs’.
But despite what has been an ‘incredibly stressful time’ for her, Georgia remains a ‘positive, smiley’ two-year-old who is popular with all who know her at APTCOO and Bright Sparks Day Nursery, which she attends in Mansfield.
The youngster’s favourite music is the theme tune to hit Children’s TV programme, Peppa Pig.
Karl Hassell is a student at Mansfield’s Fountaindale SEN School and has been nominated for an award by assistant headteacher, Kelly Fedun.
He is 18 years old and lives in Farndon, near Newark, with his parents Helen and Chris.
Kelly says she nominated the teenager because ‘despite a number of problems and issues with his health, Karl completed and achieved a GCSE in English’.
His hobbies include playing wheelchair basketball and his favourite subject is PE and sports.
Added Kelly: “Karl has a passion for wheelchair basketball and enjoys other sports in school, in particular he is on the school boccia team.”
She says that Karl wants to ‘achieve as much as he can in his wheelchair basketball’ in the future.
Despite suffering with type 1 diabetes for three years, Matthew Burke is proving an inspiration as he battles with every day life.
A student at Mansfield’s Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, the 16-year-old was diagnosed with the condition in May 2011 and has to inject himself four times a day - but still has a 100 per cent attendance record.
Said his mentor, Jane Shaw: “He never moans and just gets on with it. Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has not affected him academically. Matthew is on the right track to do well in his exams this summer and his attendance is also excellent. Well done Matthew.”
His favourite subject is mathematics and on leaving school he would like to go into Post 16 education to study maths and business - but has not yet decided on a career path as yet.
Away from his studies, Matthew enjoys playing basketball for his school.
Fourteen-year-old Jack O’Shea is a cheerful and happy person despite often being in pain and discomfort.
The Beech Hill School pupil has moderate learning difficulties and also suffers from hypermobility syndrome, which causes him a great deal of discomfort.
But assistant headteacher Rob Butler says this does not stop from enjoying school and never complains about the pain he is in.
Jack, who lives in Kirkby with his mother Sue, likes science and maths at school because they are ‘fun’ classes to be in.
Away from his school work, the teenager enjoys swimming, cricket and pool.
On leaving school, Jack wants to go to college to continue with his studies before embarking on a career as a train driver.
Samworth Church Academy student Thomas Burton always manages a smile, no matter how poorly he is feeling.
The 13-year-old, who suffers from a genetic disease called Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), lives in Clipstone with his mother Michaela Burton.
He was diagnosed with the disease - which affects the immune system - after suffering with chest pains and feeling unwell at Christmas 2012.
As CGD is a relatively rare disease, Thomas is under Great Ormond Street Hospital in London - as well as Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre - for some procedures.
He has had CT scans and endoscopies and he will have to have a bone marrow transplant in the not too distant future. He is taking medication to support his immune system
Thomas has been nominated for a Courage Award by Samworth’s student welfare manager, Carolyn Hardwick.
His favourite subject is resistant materials because ‘it’s hands on’ and his ambition is to one day work in the motor industry - and of course to be healthy.
Out of school, the teenager enjoys playing with remote controlled cars.
TJ Williams is a student at Mansfield’s Portland College and has Cerebral Palsy and spastic quadriplegia.
The 19-year-old, from Scarborough, is currently in his second year at the Nottingham Road college and has been nominated because of his ‘incredible’ progress at Portland.
One of TJ’s most courageous qualities is his confidence when dealing with staff and communicating his opinions.
Because of these attributes, TJ was invited to become part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee as the student representative - where he takes a very active part, expressing the views of his fellow students and challenging many difficult issues facing young people with disabilities.
A very friendly and likeable young man, TJ is a familiar face around college – mainly due to the sheer number of activities he gets involved in.
He is studying as part of the college’s ‘Skills for Work’ programme and is a very keen sportsman, getting involved in a number of team sports such as table cricket (as part of the college’s team at the national finals) and boccia, together with being a key part of the successful Portland team which won the British Disabled Sports Championships in 2012.
TJ is also studying towards a number of vocational qualifications in sport - such as Level 1 Sport and Active Leisure - which involves him delivering sports sessions to his peers, and will enable him to go into a sports-related job in the future. During his two years at Portland College, TJ has grown massively in confidence and matured very quickly, taking a full and active part in college life. He has developed his independence, often travelling with friends into town and has demonstrated that his disability is no barrier to anything he wants to achieve in life.