Young heroes pick up trophies at Youth Awards show

EACH one is a young hero with an inspiring story.

Monday, 13th June 2016, 8:06 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 6:07 pm
Ellie-Mae Wheeler, winner of Star of the Family Award. Picture: Sarah Standing (160820-1862)

And yesterday they were rewarded for their courage, bravery, talent and tenacity at The News’ Youth Awards.

More than 200 people packed into The Kings Theatre in Southsea as young people from across our community received trophies.

By the end of the two-hour show, there was barely a dry eye in the house.

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Each story – whether it be overcoming cancer at a young age or coping with a severe disability – moved many people to tears of joy, sadness and pride.

The overall winner of the awards was courageous Ellie-Mae Wheeler, an 11-year-old girl from Waterlooville.

Ellie-Mae lives has had to overcome many challenges in her young life.

She constantly supports her father, Lee Wheeler, and her two younger brothers, who have special educational needs.

Her nomination, supported by Havant Young Carers, said she ‘cares so much about her dad and brothers and never puts her needs first’.

After winning, Ellie, who also won Star of The Family, said: ‘It’s overwhelming.’

She added it was ‘the best day of her life’.

Choking back tears, her dad Lee, 42, of Forest End, said: ‘She deserves it.

‘There were so many fantastic people out there today.

‘To have my daughter recognised by other people is amazing.

‘She does not ask for anything – she just gets on with it. I am so proud and so happy for her.’

Theo Hornsey, 16, of Gains Road, Southsea, was jubilant after winning the Inspiration of the Year award.

What was thought to be a tennis injury turned out to be a spinal tumour and he underwent major surgery.

Having trained for just three weeks, he later went on to come second in the under-20s category for the Coastal Half Marathon.

Theo told the audience: ‘Never give up’.

He added: ‘This means quite a lot. It’s nice to see people are recognised.’

Carol Dean, 58, and Ian Dean, 64, from Fareham, were supporting their grandson, Matthew Nolan, in the awards.

Carol said: ‘It’s been heart-wrenching. They have such courage.’

Ian added: ‘It brings tears to your eyes.

‘You get a big lump in your throat.

‘I think it’s just marvellous what some young people can achieve. Some adults would be hard pushed to do what some of them have done.’

Ben Clabon, the presenter at the awards, said: ‘It’s been an amazing day with an absolutely star-studded cast of young people.’