Profoundly deaf Sunderland boy wins Northern Children of Courage award after impressing coaches on Foundation of Light football programme
A profoundly deaf youngster from Wearside has scooped a prestigious honour after impressing coaches on a football course.
Seven-year-old Jack Neesham, from Sunderland, has not let his health condition hold him back from his love of the beautiful game.
Finding many mainstream activities restrictive for those with disabilities, Jack joined the Foundation of Light's early years Little Dribblers football programme and school holiday courses four years ago.
Initially shy and withdrawn around those he didn't know, his positive attitude and determination to be "one of the lads" has seen his confidence soar and helped him become a stand-out player within his grassroots team, which is more than his parents could have hoped for.
Impressing his coaches with his hard work and development as a player but more importantly as a young man, he now attends the Foundation's Player Development Programme, an invite only programme for talented young players which feeds into Sunderland AFC's Academy.
He has now been honoured at the Northern Children of Courage award
The awards. celebrated the achievements of children and young people who have overcome barriers, achieved something extraordinary or helped and supported others.
Organised and supported for the second year by The St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, the awards were split over two age categories (under 12 and 13-17 years old), and presented in six categories: Outstanding Bravery, Fundraising Award,Special Recognition, Young Carer of the Year Award, Sporting Achievement and Care Team Award - to an adult team for care and support above and beyond expectations.
Mark Beverley from the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation said he was proud of each of the children who won an award.
Mr Beverley said: “When you see the level of courage and determination shown by these young people it makes you feel very humble.
"They are an inspiration to us all.
"I’m very proud of each and every one of them and they thoroughly deserve their award.”