An inspirational young man from Sunderland has claimed a top award for the way he has turned his life around after beating the bullies.
Thomas Nobrega scooped a top honour at The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards in Gateshead.
The youth charity gives disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to find a job.
Three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.
The awards recognise the achievements of disadvantaged young people across the North East who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their community.
Thomas, 20, is an aviation fan and Asperger’s sufferer who experienced a difficult start to life.
He has a number of disabilities including hearing loss and curvature of the spine.
He was sent to a school for the deaf, where he was severely bullied.
At the awards night he was ecstatic to take home the Benfield Rising Star gong.
Thomas said: “I was up against some amazing finalists so this is really unexpected.
“If it wasn’t for The Prince’s Trust, I never would have got to this point in my life.”
Following help from The Trust, Thomas is now working at Newcastle Airport and is one step closer to his dream of working as cabin crew.
Gavin Ruddick, from Benfield, said: “Everyone at Benfield would like to congratulate Thomas for winning the Benfield Rising Star Award.
“Thomas has conquered many of life’s challenges to turn his life around and he should be very proud of his achievements.”