Kindhearted and brave children championed at Young Heroes Awards celebration
Children who have shown strength and compassion way beyond their years have been hailed at a special night filled with inspirational stories.
Peterlee Young Heroes was hosted last night at Shotton Hall as community organisations and businesses rallied round to put children from the town and surrounding villages in the limelight for their efforts to make East Durham a better place.
Held for the second year running, the ceremony was opened by Durham Constabulary's cadets, who paraded in the grounds, before those from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue put on a display of their skills.
Video messages were also played to push those in the audience to fulfill their hopes and aspirations.
The award winners were:
*Amber Mason, presented by Coun Terry Duffy, for the sports coaching she offers other young people at Peterlee Pavilion.*Charlie Hepple, eight, from Wheatley Hill, who raised £1,400 for an asthma charity through a bake sale and inspired his village to get involved in fundraising. He was moved to collect cash has he has the condition himself.*Nathan Sergeant, who was nominated by dad Jonathan as he has been unwell and shown great bravery
*Georgia Cornforth, seven, from Peterlee, who volunteered to have 10 inches of her hair cut off to donate to the Princess Trust so it could be used to make a wig for someone who has lost their own hair.
*Cameron Bains, who was presented his title by Les Todd and Paul Burr from Durham County Council, for his part in the Sliding Doors programme, which sees him work alongside its tradespeople and taught him construction and joinery skills. His work to support the town's community garden and his role in helping others as they also learn was also recognised.
*Olivia Ward, who was nominated by PCSO Jack Duffy after she helped another young person who was in danger in the town centre and ensured they got to a place of safety. It was later found they were under the influence of drugs and were at risk of falling ill.
*Lewis Pearn, who was presented by Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, after he and a friend went to the rescue of Peterlee Town Councillors Mary Cartwright and Scott Meikle when the car they were in was struck by another vehicle. They helped call for an ambulance and stayed with them until they knew they would be fine.
*Aaron Turner, who was presented his award by Durham Constabulary's Ian Squires, who appeared in Police Interceptors, and his dog Lottie. He helps others in his community, even on Christmas Day, when he made sure others had a meal.
*Alfie Dixon Clarke, presented by Phil Innis of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Brigade, for the homework club he set up to help his friends, with funding left over used to support East Durham Trust's food bank.*Jessica Combes, 11, from Seaham, who was presented her award by Suzanne Chaney of the Castle Dene Shopping Centre. She was nominated by mum Cheryl Furlong for having the bravery to ask for help when she needed it and for her care and support.
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Coun Meikle, who is Mayor of Peterlee, said following the event: "I'm blown away, just blown away.
"I think the young people of Peterlee have done themselves proud and it has been so inspirational to be here tonight to hear the stories and see the kids and their families."
Deputy Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary closed the night by reading a roll call of the winners and said: "It has been absolutely fantastic.
"We have heard lots of inspirational stories from people and it's been emotional.
"This is the second year and hearing it all, it has hit new heights.
"Just the passion in the room has been tremendous."
She added her thanks to Coun Meikle for his support for the event, and he in term presented those who have backed the evening with awards.
Cheryl, speaking of her daughter Jessica's award, said: "She is really caring and she always wants to help other people.
"She's my rock and I may be her mam, but she has made me the person I am."
Charlie's mum Naomi, 28, who put him forward for his award, said: "The bake sale was something he said he wanted to do, and it went from there.
"The whole community came together, there was a proper community spirit.
"We're so proud of him."
Georgia's mother Sarah Kinghorn said: "She had lovely long hair and it was her who said she wanted to get it cut and donate it, it was all her idea," while Georgia added: "I felt really pleased when I won the award."
The evening featured speeches by Heather Mills and reformed offender Shaun Morton.