Praising the winners at our Youth Awards, Ian Dean, who was there to support his grandson, said: ‘It brings tears to your eyes’ and it gave him a ‘big lump’ in his throat.
It’s difficult to give a neater summary of the impact the achievements of these tremendous young people.
Heroism does not always come signposted or televised, with The News at 10 announcing that someone has done something incredible.
Sometimes it comes in the every day – the lives of ordinary people who are managing to do extraordinary things, simply by getting on with things.
And the incredible thing is, that they may not even realise that what they are doing is special.
That is the very reason we hold these awards. These youngsters deserve the recognition and our admiration.
It’s easy to deride the youth of today, or be condescending – of course things were different when many of us were young, that’s a given. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean we were any better behaved, smarter or respectful.
These young people, our winners, deserve the respect of all of us, though, for what they have achieved or overcome.
Young people can be incredibly resilient, but not all of them have to be through necessity.
Take our overall winner Ellie-Mae Wheeler, who at 11, has effectively taken on the role of mother to her two younger brothers, who, to make things even more challenging, have special educational needs.
But does she complain? No, her proud father Ian says ‘she just gets on with it.’
I’m sure many of us have heard adults complain much more about much less.
Today we celebrate the younger members of our community, and we hope we all remember them when bemoaning ‘the youth of today.’