Good deeds lead to awards as town celebrates its young achievers
The Young Heroes Awards hailed the inspirational people behind a host of remarkable stories which took in stories of random acts of kindness, bravery and personal achievement.
It was hosted by Durham Constabulary at Shotton Hall, with the audience played a video message from South Shields popstar Perrie Edwards, of Little Mix.
She said: “Congratulations and well done to all the young people receiving rewards tonight. It’s amazing to hear of all the positive things of the young people in Peterlee. It just goes to show that hard work and good deeds really do pay off. Have the best night, lots of love.”
England Rugby Player Ellie Pigford and Middlesbrough footballer Callum Cooke also sent videos praising the youngsters.
Among those to collect an award was Charlie Payne, 14, who was nominated by his mother, Julia Connelly.
She put him forward for helping her through a period of domestic violence and in recognition of his role as a carer for his grandad.
Julia said: “He’s my best friend and we’ve been through thick and thin together.
“We went through loads of domestic violence and if it wasn’t for him then I don’t know where I’d be.
“He also stays at my dad’s because he’s got arthritis and a pacemarker so he goes and cares for him about two to three times a week.
“He does housework and looks after him and lets me know that he’s alright.
“I’m such a proud mum, he does everything.”
Blackhall Primary School pupil Shauna Strong was nominated by her school teachers after helping in the aftermath of a road traffic collision outside the school.
Deputy headteacher, Rachel Leonard, said: “One of our year 6 pupils was knocked over outside the school building.
“Shauna witnessed the incident and ran straight to get the girl’s mam.
“It was a really caring thing to do.
“To see something so tragic and know what to do instantly.
“I just think to make that decision at the spur of the moment was a really heroic thing to do.
“As educators if we are bringing children through the education system to make decisions like that and care for other people then we are doing a good job.”
Teenagers Emmie Steele and Chloe Pinkney received an award for going to the aid of Margaret McGann after she suffered a serious fall at Peterlee bus station.
Margaret said: “I cut my head, had a broken nose, jaw, ribs and all sorts of injuries.
“I was lying on the ground and I’m in blood thinners so the blood was pouring out of the wound on my head.
“Chloe and Emmie came to help.
“I didn’t know who they were at the time.
“They were really good.
“They phoned my daughter who was at work and phoned my grandson’s school as I was on my way to pick him up and I knew that he’d be panicking if I wasn’t there.
“Everything got sorted. They waited with me and held my hand.
“They were excellent.
“In this day and age, young people get a lot of criticism and I think it’s nice to let people know that people like them exist.”
Margaret posted about the incident on the Peterlee Have Your Say Facebook page and asked if anyone knew who the teenagers were.
She said: “Within an hour, I had 134 replies.
“I contacted them and it all went on from there.
“I took them out for a meal at Sambuca in Durham and we had a really good night.
“ We’re still in contact almost every couple of days. I’m really happy to have met them.”
Other youngsters who were honoured were Lauren Shovlin who helps to care for her mother, Shane D’Arcy and Rhys Jackson who helped a Police Community Support Officer with an elderly injured man, and Andrew Langthorne, an up and coming cricket umpire,
William Lee who completed a charity walk for If U Care Share in memory of his grandfather and Bethan Tucker who assisted a mother after her toddler suffered a nasty fall were also recognised.
Inspector Lee Blakelock, of Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team, masterminded the night.
He said: “I wanted this awards night to represent the kind and brave things that young people do in this community on a daily basis.
“The things that people don’t hear about.
“We all know that bad news travel fast, but I wanted to highlight that there are unbelievable stories of everyday heroes all around us and those stories deserve to be told.
“I am so proud of them all.”
Officers from the hit show ‘Police Interceptors’ attended the night alongside Durham’s Deputy Chief Constable Jo Farrell and the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg.
There was a parade from Durham Constabulary Police Cadets and a performance by The Academy at Shotton Hall Choir.
The evening was a joint initiative between the police force, Durham County Council and Peterlee Town Council.