SMILING faces of youngsters lit up the Kings Theatre at The News’ first ever Youth Awards.
It was a night to remember for everyone involved as tales of the inspiring, heroic and courageous things our youngsters do were celebrated.
The awards have been introduced to acknowledge our young people’s achievements both academically and personally.
Five-year-old Sam Merrick, who battles a rare immuno-deficiency and faces regular trips to hospital, came out on top, winning the Overall Star of the Year award.
There were 11 awards handed out for various different categories including Star of the Family, Learner of the Year and Best Friend of the Year.
Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said he was pleased with how the awards went.
‘They went fantastically well as we hoped they would do,’ he said. ‘We do a lot to celebrate what young people do for our area but we’ve never had a Youth Awards so we’ve set the record straight.’
There were performances from Abstract Dance and Performing Arts and the King Richard School Dance Company.
Liam Robinson, who lost his twin brother Jack to a brain tumour in April, won the Star of the Family award.
There was a rapturous round of applause for the five-year-old, and many took part in a standing ovation for the youngster from Denmead.
He said: ‘I’m happy. It feels special to have the award and to go up on stage.’
His mum Marie, 41, said: ‘This is like a turning point. He has been a little trouper. He’s been amazing.’
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Jade Kelly won the Stage Star award. She said: ‘I’m really shocked. I didn’t expect to get it because it’s a tough category.’
Four-year-old Ethan Riou was named Hero of the Year for calling an ambulance after his mum collapsed dislocated shoulder at their home.
For a full list of the winners click here.