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THE achievements and inspirational stories of the young people of Melksham were celebrated last week at a special awards ceremony.
Fourteen awards were handed out at the sixth Melksham Young People Awards, organised by local charity Young Melksham. In a break from tradition to previous years the awards were not categorised, instead the awards celebrated young people who have worked hard to make a difference in their own lives, the people around them, or the community.
Awards were given to Alfie Robson, Sienna Bush, George Backhouse, Ciaran Hanks, Levi Brett, Megan Winter, Abbie Dark, Jack Carey, Cameron Williams, Matthew Murrell, Tilly Birkett, Jessica Gould, Jade Griffin and the Melksham Town FC under-13 girls’ team.
Speaking to Melksham News at the awards ceremony, chair of the board of trustees at Young Melksham, Jon Hubbard said, “It’s another fantastic year to celebrate the amazing things our young people in the town do. I think that too often we don’t see so much that is done behind the scenes by young people, and achieved by young people.
“It’s a joy to celebrate those achievements with them. The young people awards are without doubt the favourite part of my job and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.”
The awards were sponsored by Gompels Healthcare, Selwood Housing and Greensquare Group. Presenting the awards was Dan Kovacs from Gompels Healthcare. Dan told Melksham News, “It’s great to hear the stories about what these young people have achieved, despite what some of them have been through. They are great success stories. It’s great to be a part of tonight and long may it continue!”
“Our first nominee was born at just 26 weeks and weighed only 1lb 15oz. His parents spent nights sitting in bed helping him to breath and experienced many trips in an ambulance. For his parents sitting by his bedside while he was in a coma had to be the worst possible time.
“Our nominee was left with scarring and a narrow airway and got breathless quick. However he has now played football for Melksham Town for the last 4 years and every time he is out on the pitch he gives it everything he can.
“His parents were told he probably wouldn’t be able to catch a ball, but he has proved the doctors wrong and is super on the pitch! During his time with the club he has been awarded manager’s player of the year twice for his playing of the game.
“At school we are told he is a very caring young man who would always put others first before himself. Mum’s comment was that she is super proud to call him her son.”
“This nominee has recently passed her Second Dan black belt testing, becoming the first student in her group to become a Second Dan Black belt. Her instructor tells us how proud he is that she has achieved this so young.
“She is a real role model to other students, showing what you can do when you put the work in and she has inspired others to attend and compete in the past.
“Her passion for the sport comes from the heart and over all the years she has never let anything hold her back or keep her from training; whether it’s been physical injuries, illness or emotional issues.
“She has faced many challenges over the years which involve both mental and physical hurdles. Rising above times when she has lost at competitions but used the negativity to aim to improve so that next time she can be better.”
“As a happy go lucky 5-year-old our next nominee was diagnosed with Acute Crohn’s Disease in early 2018 having been poorly for a few weeks after a family trip abroad.
“Although it’s early days it seems our nominee has taken well to the medicine he now has to take regularly, but he still has to take time out of school. To his credit he asks for work to ensure his studies do not suffer!
“Our nominee sets himself goals to achieve, which can be small in the first instance but build up to greater things. Having struggled with football due to bouts of pain, he is now learning to play golf and understanding the different elements that make up the sport.
“An active pupil, our nominee is also a keen swimmer and looks forward to his lessons on a Saturday at the local pool.”
“If you live in Melksham you cannot have failed to have heard about the exploits of our next nominee. He has recently completed another swimming challenge raising over £500 for MS Society having swam the equivalent length of Loch Ness (36.33km).
“Since August 2016 he has overcome his own asthma, gained confidence with his swimming and raised over £1,200 for various charities.
“When he completed his first challenge in 2016 he was put in touch with Stephanie Millward, Paralympic gold medallist, and she swam the end of his first challenge with him. As Stephanie lives with MS and our nominee has seen her have an attack first hand, he wanted to swim another challenge to raise some funds to help fight MS and as a thank you for the support, encouragement and time that he received from Stephanie.”
“Levi lives alone with mum so when her condition (fibromyalgia) flares up, Levi has to help with things young children shouldn’t have to do. He helps mum around the house, cooking, cleaning and with her personal care as well as his own daily routines.
“Our nominee has also moved schools and he has now come on leaps and bounds with his school work now he has the help and support he needed. Mum says she could not be any prouder.”
“The team at Young Melksham had a bit of a fight over who was going to nominate our next young person. This person has overcome challenges in life and has now become a reliable and valued member of our team here at Young Melksham.
“A Peer Leader helping out on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with our younger members, our nominee has proven herself to be reliable and hardworking.
“In the last year she has grown into a mature young woman who in many ways is unrecognisable from the person who came to club before. She has shown us a great work ethic, enthusiasm and a keenness to get on with job in hand and learn new skills.”
“This next nominee has been in and out of hospital since the day she was born and has had 13 operations to date. She never ceases to amaze her friends and family by always having a sunny outlook on life and trying her hardest to help others.
“She volunteers as part of Melksham in Bloom and Melksham Carnival and works extremely hard in school and as a volunteer to make her dream come true of being in the medical profession while often in pain and battling her own issues.
“Her strength of character and determination makes her an absolute asset to Melksham.”
“This young man has faced so much in 13 years from bullying to being a young carer for his mum. She has had multiple operations and he’s always been there looking after her every time.
“Mum explained how this nominee understands what challenges she faces and how he has to deal with things a child shouldn’t have to. He has also helped out with his younger brother who has additional needs. Mum says that he has grown into a charming, helpful young man she is proud to call her son.”
Melksham Town Under 13 Girls Team
“Who says girls can’t play football! This group of young ladies have managed to go unbeaten in the girl’s league. They also reached the semi-final of the national finals in Birmingham at futsal, losing eventually to Tottenham Hotspur.
“Having become bored of winning all the time playing other girls, this season the team with a new recruit have moved from 7-a-side to 11-a-side in a boy’s league where the girls have won 8 or their 12 games so far.
“The team are the first all-girls team to play in a competitive boy’s league in the county and are seen as trail blazers as the girl’s game comes more into the spotlight.
“We are so proud that this group of girls, leading the way on breaking down barriers in football are based here in Melksham.”
“Our next nominee has ADHD and before moving to Melksham 5 years ago, really struggled at school. His reports have gone from, ‘disruptive and doesn’t work well with others’, to how well he contributes in class, both singularly and as a group.
“Mum tells us she has had emails from staff saying how well he’s done in class and they believe he will do well in his exams as a result.
“He has come so far academically. His confidence has come on so much, especially in drama, where he has taken part in extracurricular performances with the school.”
“Our next nominee is a bit old for a ‘Young People’s Award’ really, but when attending our Monday No Limits club has show how he is kind and caring, always helping people where he lives. He volunteers helping other with disabilities.
“Mum tells us that our nominee never sees the bad in others always wants to be people’s friends and well liked.”
“Our next nominee has achieved Swimmer of the year at Melksham Blue Pool, qualified for the 2018 regional championships in three separate events, in the past 12 months she has competed at the county championships and regional championships where she was awarded bronze for 50m back stroke, and selected for Swim England talent pathway.
“She is passionate about swimming and has never once complained about the strict regime that is needed along with the hard work required to fit in school work and extra school sport activities and team events.”
“Our next nominee has been a member of Enigma since it was formed in Melksham back in 2012. Over this time, she has not only gained a passion and many skills within the art and sport of baton twirling, but also achieved many goals.
“She is described as a truly valued member of the team who is willing to help teach anyone who is learning the sport at all ages and has even started to help set routines.
“With her new confidence our nominee has now excelled at sport at school too, gaining a level 2 distinction in BTEC SPORTS.
“She trains weekly with the team and when offered additional training at weekends she does her best to attend. From being a very shy timid girl, she has truly blossomed into a beautiful thoughtful and determined young woman.”
“For 15 years this nominee has been doing gymnastics at the Wiltshire School of Gymnastics competitively. She has over the last 18 months started to coach new and younger gymnasts and passing on her knowledge. She coaches children from 5-12yrs and is liked by all.
“It is a sport she loves and this shows in her coaching skills. She has juggled her own gymnastic training with her coaching and in resent months her GCSE’s. She is always willing to help and stand in at the last minute. She has more confidence now than ever before.
“Our nominee has currently taken a basic training course and is waiting to start her level 1 training in the next few months. She is well like at respected by her peers at the gym who say she has a lovely way of coaching.”