Teenager receives award for courage shown battling illness

Teenager receives award for courage shown battling illness

16th July 2014


AN INAUGURAL award dedicated to the memory of a much-loved student has been presented to a teenager for the courage he has shown battling illness.

Thomas Golding arrived at The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, in Year 7 already recovering from spinal surgery and has gone on to have a number of operations requiring time off school. Now in Year 9, the 14-year-old has to wear a support brace.

Principal Chris Drew told students, staff and guests at the academy’s annual prize-giving: “He has coped with everything he has been through, never waivered from being positive and you are more likely to hear him tell a joke than complain.”

Thomas was awarded the Alix Ritchie Award for Courage, in memory of a former student who lived with an incurable illness which claimed his life aged just 21.

Alix was renowned for his love of football and photography and his pictures still hang on the walls of the academy’s reception. His mother Fiona presented the award to Thomas.

The school’s 11th prize-giving took as a theme ‘facing challenges and climbing mountains’.

Special guest world-renowned mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE told students how battling the elements had equipped him with the skills and stamina to thrive in life.

Mr Hinkes is the only Briton to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks, a feat that has claimed countless lives and took the Northallerton mountaineer 17 years to achieve.

He said: “No mountain is worth your life or a digit. Getting back down is a success, reaching the summit is a bonus.”

Mr Drew said that climbing could be seen as a metaphor for life as everyone faced challenges that helped build character and resilience.

He listed a host of activities completed successfully by students this year including voluntary work in Zambia, a football tour of Texas, an expedition on a tall ship, staging a Shakespearean night, dance festival, bikeathon, fashion and arts events.

“I would like to thank the students for all the mountains they have climbed, all the things they have taken on, all the challenges they have conquered,” he said.

Awards were presented for endeavour, effort, excellence and improvement. There were also subject, house, sports, citizenship and community awards.

Year 7 pupil Lewis Sharp, 12, was hailed Outstanding Student of the Year for his behaviour, which embodied the core values of the academy.

Lewis, who enjoys art, said: “I was stunned but very pleased to win.”

Special accolades included The Rotary Club Work Experience Award to Kieran Wells, music scholarships for Abigail Richardson and Connor Sharp, the Academy Drama Bowl to Josh Omri, The Chairman’s Award for Special Recognition to Dane McCarrick, the Sports Day Trophy to Romans house, the Poetry Award to Ellise DeAndrade, and the Emmanuel Short Story Award to Jessica Codling. The House Cup went to Medes.

Entertainment was provided by the Year 10 BTEC dance group, soloists Rebekah Ruddick and Hannah Scott and a scene from Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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