This month the Beacon dedicates its popular ‘Island Story’ feature to a very special group of people who live here. This is a story about bravery, courage, kindness and dedication – and it centres on some of the many young people on the Island who have faced adversity, and somehow managed to come through it with a smile on their faces.
These youngsters were recently recognised at the Isle of Wight Radio Child of Wight Awards ceremony, held at Cowes Yacht Haven. They were chosen from a list of many entries, all of whom could so easily have been picked to receive one of the awards.
The event was hosted by Isle of Wight Radio presenters Paul Topping and Anna Bingham, and among the 150 guests who attended were representatives of the businesses that kindly sponsored the awards. Anna said: “Reading through some the nominations we received was hugely inspiring, we clearly have a wealth of incredible young people on this Island who all deserve to be praised for their bravery, patience and determination.”
Claire Willis, Managing Director of Isle of Wight Radio and Beacon Media, said: “The Isle of Wight Radio Local Hero awards have been running for 10 years, and we received so many nominations for children that we set up the Isle of Wight Radio Child of Wight Awards last year.
“The judges had a difficult task in deciding the category winners, all the nominees are winners in their own right. The awards highlight just how many amazing children we have here on the Island, children who have to overcome challenges every single day, others who excel in their field to those who have recovered from accidents and illnesses at such a young age.
The Overall Child Of Wight award was won by four-year-old Oliver Power, and was presented to him by John Irvine, Chief Executive Officer of headline sponsors Wightfibre. Oliver was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was three-and-a-half years old. He has to have blood tests every day of his life, and has a pump attached to his body to administer insulin.
When he is very poorly he can end up with a hospital stay, but as Paul pointed out at the ceremony: “Oliver started school in September last year, and joins in with everything. He loves to play football, watch football, and play with his dog. There isn’t anything he won’t try. He goes through more than most adults ever have and he always has a smile on his face.”
Anna added: “He is doing so well at school despite him not quite being the same as the other children. He is still so young but he can test his own blood sugars and tell his parents the reading. When his sugars drop too low he has to take fast acting glucose to get him up again and he has to sit still for 15 minutes.
“For a four-year-old that is not easy, but he sits down and never moans. His mother says he is her hero and he puts most adults to shame. He truly is an inspiration.”
Every award winner on the night was a very special young person who deserved the recognition they received.
The winners were:
1. Overall Child of Wight award, sponsored by Wightfibre: Oliver Power.
2. The Asa Singleton Most Courageous Child award, sponsored by Wightlink: Jessica Furneaux.
3. Child of Wight Sporting Star, sponsored by Hovertravel: Sophie Bruce.
4. Child Of Wight Make A Difference award, sponsored by the Needles Landmark Attraction: Shauna Willett.
5. Child Of Wight Fundraiser award, sponsored by Red Funnel: Hettie Bell.
6. Child Of Wight Young Achiever award, sponsored by IFPL: Mitchell Woodward.
7. Child Of Wight Young Carer award, sponsored by Unique Windows: Dylan Smith.
8. Child of Wight Young Performer award, sponsored by Marvins Estate Agents: Jamie Smith.
9. Child of Wight Best Friend award, sponsored by Amazon World: Year 6 at Binstead Primary School.
10. Child of Wight Best Brothers award, sponsored by Tapnell Farm Park: Danny and Bradley Arnold.
11. Child of Wight Best Sisters award, sponsored by Westridge Skip Hire: Phoebe and Kiera Bamford.