The youngsters’ selfless willingness to make life better for people during the coronavirus pandemic has been honoured by Whitchurch Rotary.
Each youngster received an engraved glass plaque and certificate when they gathered at Alderford Lake near Whitchurch for what the Rotary president, Dave Simcock, described as “a sobering evening”.
He said: “It was a privilege to share an occasion with the cream of the town’s young people whose unselfish actions to help others have been overwhelming.”
The ‘Extra Mile Awards’ were presented by Diane Nelson and Amanda Carpenter from joint sponsors The Grocott Family Charitable Trust and SBC Training.
The nominations were received from parents, grandparents, headteachers and friends as well as unconnected individuals who wanted to spotlight young heroes who had helped their communities through one of the most difficult years in recent memory.
Clair Schafer, director of SBC Training, told them: “You are a credit to your friends, families and community who I am sure are very proud of you. But, most of all, you are a credit to yourselves and you should be proud of yourselves.”
The ‘Extra Mile Awards’ was organised in two age categories; for six to 11 years-old and 12 to 18 years.
Age 6 to 11 years:
Henry Dodd, aged 7
When the first Covid-19 lockdown began last year Henry Dodd’s grandmother was forced to shield with a newly diagnosed life-threatening medical condition. Like many others she was not allowed to see family and friends when she needed them most. But Henry, then six-years-old, regularly joined his parents to walk more than a mile to see her through a window. And he left messages under the car windscreen wiper to lift her spirits. Henry also separately raised £80 from a sponsored walk in aid of Shelter.
Charlotte Titchen, aged 8 and William Titchen, aged 6
Charlotte and her brother William, worked as a team, through shielding and lockdown, to devise acts of kindness for others. They rode and ran two miles, four times a week for a month, to raise £164 for the threatened Chester Zoo. They were upset about homeless people – so they went shopping, made lunches and food bags for them and delivered these in Shrewsbury town centre. They arranged a street VE Day celebration to raise spirits during the difficult time.
Samuel Wiggins, aged 11
When Samuel’s childhood stammer reached a peak of frustration last year he took the brave step of going onto social media with a poem that explained stammering and offered support for other children in similar positions. The poem went viral and attracted worldwide attention from the stammering community, speech therapists, newspapers and television. Interviews with Sam raised awareness and his confidence grew. He is now chairman of the World Stuttering Network Youth Committee a mutual support body for children from all around the world. And his awareness day in Malpas raised money for the British Stammering Association and Action for Stammering Children. Sam’s big heart turned a negative situation into something positive.
Elliott Beddows, aged 6
Elliott was five-years-old and devastated when Chester Zoo faced closure during the first lockdown and needed extra funding. So he sold cakes and biscuits, baked by neighbours, friends and family, made a banner and co-designed a poster to promote an event that he hoped would help save the zoo. Elliottalso joined in the baking and was overwhelmed by the number of people who turned up at the event which, including a raffle, raised a massive £1,214.
Hugo Manuel, aged 6
Hugo, one of the two litter-picking Manuel brothers, supported the ‘We are Whitchurch’ community group by turning up and giving time to help a series of weekend clean-up sessions that tidied areas of town, including Jubilee Park.
Seth Baillie, aged 8; Evie Baillie, aged 10; and Sophie Baillie, aged 12
When Sophie, Evie and Seth Baillie learned how much funding had been cut from the Cancer Relief UK budget, because of Covid, they wanted to make a difference for cancer sufferers. So, over 30 days last year, they completed 30 runs, a total of 331.5 miles between them, and raised almost £1,400. They carried on, through some tough and challenging days, knowing that their discomfort did not compare with the people they were hoping to help.
Emilia Bennett, aged 10
Emilia, a member of the Cure Leukaemia ‘Little Lifesavers’ club, used her fundraising skills to independently raise over £2,100 for the charity. She baked and sold cakes at Christmas events and in local stores. She created her own recipe book and sold copies for £5 each. Emilia gave her time selflessly and was determined to make a difference to her cause.
Age 12 to 18 years:
Jacob Elliot, aged 14
Jacob’s love for the academic, sporting and social life at Sir John Talbot’s School, took a hard knock during the lockdown closure. But he switched his enthusiasm to home learning while also supporting his family through a series of challenging health, career and lifestyle changes. When school-life resumed Jacob merged his voluntary litter-picking in the town with his involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and spent at least two hours, every weekend, tidying Whitchurch. His infectious enthusiasm and resilience characterised a year of kind, considerate and caring support for family, friends and the community.
Lily Chidlow, aged 14
During lockdown Lily helped with her mother Maxine’s fruit and vegetable sales at Higher Heath and supported the community business through an uncertain time. Her inspiring hard work helped the service to stay open and led to praise from local customers as the only ‘lifeline’ of its kind in the village, and surrounding area, where they could buy fruit, vegetables and other products. Lily would take the orders for deliveries and worked tirelessly at Christmas because she felt that “no-one should have nothing” at that time of year.
Benn Magee, aged 17
Benn Magee has an active interest in First Aid training – partly as a Cadet Corporal with 79 (Whitchurch) Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets and partly as a member of his local St John’s Ambulance group. During the pandemic he expanded his knowledge and used his qualifications to help various members of the public. Benn helped a woman who fractured her hip in a fall on the pavement outside the Whitchurch Civic Centre. And when a friend fell through the roof of an old shed, while gathering wild fruit, Benn calmly moved him to a safe location, assessed his injuries and gave treatment until emergency paramedics arrived. As a result, Benn’s friend avoided serious injury and was in a stable condition to recover safely.
Cory Manuel, aged 15
Cory is the elder of the two litter-picking Manuel brothers from Whitchurch. Together they supported the ‘We are Whitchurch’ community group by turning up and giving their time to help a series of weekend clean-up sessions. The tidied areas of town included Jubilee Park.