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INSPIRATIONAL young people from Melksham and their achievements were celebrated and honoured last week at a special awards ceremony.
Eleven awards and six highly commended runner-up awards were handed out at the seventh Melksham Young People Awards, organised by local charity Young Melksham.
The awards celebrated young people who have worked hard to make a difference in their own lives, the people around them, or the community.
One young fundraiser, Elisha Kate Hargreaves, was handed the ‘Outstanding Achiever’ award for raising £4,800 for a sepsis charity by organising a sponsored swim whilst on holiday in Spain in memory of her friend’s grandfather.
Other awards were given to Cyrus Vanichi for his achievements in martial arts; Harry Dwyer for his positive use of physical activity whilst experiencing illness and loss within his family; Harry Kirkman for his determination whilst living with cerebral palsy; Jaime Easson for her commitment to overcome ‘hypermobility’ to be part of dance-group Enigma; Zach Flippance for volunteering at Young Melksham and being a ‘fantastic role model’; Zachary Green for his achievements as a performer in the theatre; Lottika Dey Sarker for helping her mum to care for her three brothers who have autism; and Olivia Ogden for her fundraising for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Group awards were given to Abby Schofield, Abigail Haskins and Emily Nealey for speaking at a Melksham Area Board meeting about the work of Young Melksham; Dolly Komate, Lily Greenhough, and Polly Mcbride for their fundraising for Young Melksham.
Highly commended runners-up were Brook Smith, Emma Strange, Alasca Little, Cameron Williams, Ethan Williams and Jack Carey.
At the awards ceremony, chair of the board of trustees at Young Melksham, Jon Hubbard said, “It was a really tough job judging these awards – each nomination was absolutely outstanding. I’m sure listening to the stories of these young people, you can’t fail to be moved by what they have achieved – these are some spectacular achievements! We are all extremely proud of them.”
The awards were sponsored by Gompels Healthcare, Alan Joy Windows, Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Parish Council, Selwood Housing, Places Leisure, Sound Marketing, Rigg Construction, Green Square, Cooper Tires, and Melksham News.
Elisha Kate Hargreaves
Elisha’s nomination said, “She has completed several fundraisers: 5k Run the Rainbow for the Prospect Hospice; 5K Bubble Rush for Longfield Hospice; Pedalled for Pudsey with BBC Wiltshire for Children in Need; 5K Poppy Run for the Royal British Legion; 5K Pretty Muddy for Team Jessie, our friends young daughter; and sang carols in the hospital for the patients.
“Her biggest achievement was when she was on holiday at her grandparents’ in Spain. Her friend Sophie and her sister lost their dad in May 2018 very unexpectedly to Sepsis. The girls decided to use part of their holiday to help raise awareness and money for the UK sepsis trust. They planned to swim the 19 pools on Hacienda Riquelme in a single day. They planned the event, advertised it, created a text code and even made their own t-shirts for them and their ‘entourage’. They wanted to raise £500 but they absolutely smashed it by raising a whopping £4,800! That’s 960% over their target. I couldn’t be prouder that these three girls used their holiday time to achieve something so monumental.”
Abby Schofield, Abigail Haskins & Emily Nealey
Their nomination said, “These three young people were very brave and came along to the area board to speak about why they feel their youth club important to them. It was incredibly intimidating for them, but they really wanted to stand up for what they believed in and felt passionate about.
“They had to speak in front of a large group of adults. They were very nervous but understood how important it was for them to give their side and tell the area board about the club they love.”
Cyrus’s nomination said, “Cyrus has grown into a confident and respectful lad. He treats everyone with the utmost respect. He recently joined our advanced class at Leadership Martial Arts and by next year will have a black belt. He has passed every grading exceptionally and in the first month of being with us last year he had won gold in his group for grappling, coming overall 2nd in the competition, even then he was cautious to make sure that he didn’t hurt anyone during the competition whilst making sure he secured enough points to win EVERY round.
“Cyrus is a role model to many if not all students, when we awarded student of the year the majority of students and parents had nominated him for student of the year.”
Harry’s nomination said, “Harry has faced so many challenges over the last year but has remained a personable young man and committed to giving his best when playing for Melksham U11 Rugby team. Early 2018 at rugby training he went through seeing his Dad have a heart attack. Over the next few days Harry very maturely talked about it but being mindful of his younger brothers. In October 2018 his maternal Grandad died after a short fight with cancer, only weeks later in November 2018 his paternal Grandad died suddenly, then in December his Aunt, who he was very close to, died suddenly.
“Harry has had support at school and via the hospice where his Grandad spent his last few days, but he has also used physical activity to help his mental health by channelling his passion for rugby. Making the most of opportunities such as training with Bath Rugby Club, giving 100% to his team and remaining a team player.”
Harry’s nomination said, “Harry has cerebral palsy, he couldn’t walk and has had an operation in America. He has been so brave and is now just learnt to walk with sticks.
His mum is Charlotte Deegan and his dad Matt Kirkman have raised thousands of pounds and like Harry they never complain and always has a smile. Harry’s life has improved so much from his own sheer determination and the continued fundraising within the community by his parents.”
Jaime’s nomination said, “Jaime suffers from ‘hypermobility’. This makes things incredibly difficult for Jaime as where you would expect a ‘normal’ joint to stop/move rotate to Jaime’s keeps moving. It has taken Jaime a while to get to where she is now with her strength and continued physio to help improve her balance and movement, though it has never dampened her spirit or drive to keep ‘trying’ and improving in the sport that she clearly loves. Because of her mobility, Jaime has to work and concentrate that much harder to stop her legs moving in to an ‘un-safe’ or incorrect position.
“Jaime has shown true loyalty and commitment the past couple of years and her efforts have not gone un-noticed. Supporting the team at carnivals, fetes and competitions where she has come home this year with top 3 places and many 1st’s with her team routines, plus supporting the troupe with fundraising events, Jaime is a very valued and loved member of Enigma.”
Zach’s nomination said, “Zach has been volunteering at our Tuesday night club now for about 9 months. He attends every week and is happy to get on and get stuck in with the young people. Zach never causes a fuss, he just gets on with what he needs to do. The young people really enjoy him being there and playing sports and games with them. Zach is a fantastic role model for the young people who attend and a valued member of the team.”
Zachary’s nomination said, “Before May 2018 Zachary had never set foot on a stage, but one year on he has performed to sell-out crowds around Wiltshire, first as “Oliver Twist” at the Arc theatre in Trowbridge, then in “The Nutcracker” at the Merlin theatre in Frome. He has just finished performing the role of Jeremy Potts in Frome Musical Theatre’s production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and just this week has now been cast in the principal boy role for the upcoming “Turn of The Screw” at Devizes Wharf theatre.
“He’s achieved all this by his own talent and dedication. He has sacrificed countless evenings at rehearsals, reading and practicing scripts before bed, helping promote all these fabulous shows, and he’s still managed to keep up with his schooling. He’s been completely selfless this year, giving up a lot of his summer holidays to go to acting classes and spent time entertaining retirement homes with his singing. He’s found something that makes him (and others) very happy, and I’m just so tremendously proud of the person he’s become. He doesn’t have a You Tube channel, or hang out at the park, play a great deal of sport like a lot of kids do, and because of that there can be times when children are mean and single him out for isolation, but that never phases him, because he has such a large heart and just wants to do the best at what he loves, and hopefully put a smile on the audience’s faces at the same time.”
Lottika Dey Sarker
Lottika’s nomination said, “Lottie is a young carer. She lives with her mum, stepdad and three brothers. Everyone except Lottie and her mum has autism ranging from her eldest brother who has severe autism as well as numerous other conditions.
“Lottie helps her mum care for her brothers. She is such a caring and compassionate child who is always helping around the house. Without Lottie I (her mum) would struggle. She really is my angel. If everyone was as kind as Lottie the world would be a much nicer place.”
Olivia’s nomination said, “Olivia helped organise Bowerhill School’s participation in a fundraising event for Wiltshire Air Ambulance organised by Gompels chemist. The campaign involves the collection of crisp packets for recycling. Olivia wanted to join the campaign, researched how we could take part, publicised the collection, spoke in assemblies and arranged for the collection of crisp packets. This event took place in the Summer term this year.
“Olivia’s confidence at presenting this campaign to her peers and younger children has set an excellent example of how every little action can make a difference.”
Dolly Komate, Lily Greenhough & Polly Mcbride
Their nomination said, “These three young girls have taken part in sponsorship opportunities to raise money for the youth club. Dolly and Polly helped to fund the Youth Clubs Adventure Council and have been role models to the others with talking about the adventures they plan and taking part in them, being focused and achieving the goals they set and overcoming any hurdles in the way.
“Lily has helped to raise awareness of climate change in our recent competition in the session which was judged by members of the public at the AGM meeting at the beginning of the month.”