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Kind, caring and thoughtful school pupils are recognised at star-studded Embark Federation awards

Kind, caring and thoughtful school pupils are recognised at star-studded Embark Federation awards

A youngster who took care of her friend when she was having a difficult time and an 11-year-old who walked 14 miles to raise funds for a charity set up in memory of a toddler who died from a rare form of cancer, were among award winners at a glittering ceremony in Derbyshire.

Organised by Derbyshire-based Embark Federation, the second annual awards shine a light on 150 of Embark’s 4,000 pupils. Embark currently oversees 15 schools across the county including Heath Primary School, near Chesterfield, and Horsley Woodhouse Primary School.

Each school nominated deserving children across eight categories, with a special award for those teachers and pupils who attended Derby Kids Camp for the first time this year.

Charity Derby Kids Camp, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, provides much-needed holidays for children in the city and, for the first time this year, the county. Embark staff Chloe Tongue, Chloe Jackson, Eleanor McColgan and Nichol Oak-Smith volunteered their services at the camp during the summer holidays.

Special guests on the night included West End singer Rosa O’Reilly, who has performed in popular shows including Wicked, children’s TV presenter Olivia Birchenough – best known for her work on Channel 5 show Milkshake - and Derbyshire athletes Jess Turner, Bekah Walton and Alexia West. The trio have all represented Team GB at various sports, with Jess Turner competing in the 400m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year.

Presenting the award for ‘Success’ – where recipients included swimmer Maya Adams and tennis star Tiana Bramely - Jess, a member of Amber Valley & Erewash AC who is originally from Denby, said:

“It was an honour to be asked to present the Embark Federation awards to such inspiring youngsters.

“Success can mean different things to different people and if I had one tip, it would be to try everything; give every sport a go because you could just be amazing at it.”

Other award winners included Archie Kerton for ‘his enthusiasm both at school and home’ and Blake Cockayne. Initially a reluctant reader, his teachers gave him the recognition he deserved for making so much progress over the past 12 months.

Kelvin Clarke, a dancer with Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity – and a former pupil at Aldercar High School, which has recently joined the Embark Federation – presented awards to brother and sister William and Elizabeth Kyte, who attend Chaucer Infant & Junior School. The pair completed a triathlon to support their mum.

Also commended were Aldercar Infant School pupil Jude Morris ‘for always trying his best’ and Waingroves Primary School pupils Ned English, Grace Statham and Megan Hill. Eleven-year-old Megan was given her award for ‘taking care of a friend when she needed it most’.

Siblings Lucy and Finlay Andrews were presented with a special award by sponsors NOW Education for raising money for a children’s bereavement centre in memory of their father, while the fundraising efforts of seven-year-old Poppy Charlton were recognised by her teachers at Chaucer Junior School, in Ilkeston.

Poppy collected and distributed clothing to homeless people living in Nottinghamshire and, together with her family, she walked 14 miles to raise funds for The Little Ted Foundation.

Toddler Ted Neal was just 16 months old when he died, in April 2022. His parents, Jessica and Lee Neal were on holiday when they noticed a swelling in the tot’s face.

Tests revealed that Ted had a cancerous tumour in his sinuses, so rare that it didn’t even have a name until January 2022.

Following his death, The Little Ted Foundation to honour the youngster, providing peaceful getaways in Snowdonia, Wales, for families with a seriously ill children or those bereaved following the death of a child. Fundraising for treatment for The Little Ted Foundation has been a real community effort, something that Poppy and her family have been heavily involved in.

Poppy’s nan, Sandra Hanrahan, knew the family of little Ted. She said:

“Ted’s story touched us all and I’m so proud of Poppy for playing her part. She’s a thoughtful little girl.

“All the money raised by Poppy has gone towards the holiday lodge in Snowdonia, which is where Ted spent his first and only holiday.”

Seven-year-old Eleanor Gascoyne and her brother Noah (9), who attend Howitt Primary School, took home awards for ‘enjoying learning and helping others’. Mum Natalie said:

“They’re super children and make me very proud.”

Embark Federation Trust Leader, Matthew Crawford, said:

“I am exceptionally proud of all of our pupils for their incredible achievements over the past 12 months.

“The awards epitomise our core beliefs; family, integrity, teamwork and success. They are central to everything we do. We aim to ensure that school is a magical time for our pupils, and it was a great occasion for our children, staff and families to come together and celebrate.”

The event was signed using British Sign Language by Susana Micieli. Mr Crawford added:

“Our schools are inclusive with diverse curriculums and a varied enrichment programme, and so I was delighted to welcome Susana to sign the event using British Sign Language.

“I am proud to lead such an incredible, hard-working team and for the Embark Federation to be at the heart of communities across Derbyshire.

“It is an exciting time to be a part of Embark Federation as we continue to grow. I’m also grateful for those who supported the event, including main sponsors NOW Education and the likes of Derby County footballer Craig Forsyth and Gogglebox’s Baasit Siddiqui, who recorded video messages for the children.

“We’re already looking at how we can make the Embark Federation awards 2023 even bigger and better than this year.”

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