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Inspiring young people honoured at annual Courage Awards

Posted onPosted on 16th Mar

The determination of children and young people to succeed against the odds was showcased at the annual Mansfield Rotary Courage Awards.

Thirteen inspirational recipients of the awards were nominated by their school or college for “exemplifying moral and spiritual courage in the face of personal adversity and difficulty.”

Now in its 32nd year, the event was hosted at Portland College, Mansfield, in front of the young people’s families and teachers.

PJ Abrahams (Portland College), Daniel Adams (The Garibaldi School), Jacob Brentnall (Simply Sensory Training and Support), Molly Canning (West Nottinghamshire College), Bobby Cheney (West Nottinghamshire College), Benjamin Constantine (Fountaindale School), Courtney Edwards (The Brunts Academy), Matty Finch (A Place To Call Our Own Independent Special School), Holly Hopkin (The Joseph Whitaker School), Alyssa Sharpe (Reach Learning Disability), Valeria Taranenko (Queen Elizabeth’s Academy), Archie Walker (R.E.A.L. Education), and Dylan Zhuta (Meden School) received an engraved plaque from Mansfield Rotary president Karen Johnson and a civic citation from the Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams.

Benjamin Constantine (right) receives his award from Mansfield Rotary president Karen Johnson (left), and Mansfield mayor Andy Abrahams (centre left), watched by his mum, Sharon, and his brother.


THE Courage Award for Jacob Brentnall was received on his behalf by Julie Cowpe-Stephens, of Simply Sensory, from Mansfield Rotary president Karen Johnson (left), and Mansfield mayor Andy Abrahams.

Paying tribute to the 13 award winners, Karen said: “We feel that they are all deserving of honour for the way they have all shown courage over their own adversity.

“Thirty-two years ago the then president of Mansfield Rotary, Rotn Mike Neville, who sadly passed away last year, used this definition at the very first Courage Awards. Successive presidents have been unable to better it:

Courage is often described as the ability to conquer fear or despair.

But courage is not only showing bravery in the face of danger, more often courage is the day-to-day determination and hard work of dealing with, adjusting to, and hopefully overcoming, the obstacles and harsh realities that life may present.

It is a quality of mind, enabling one to face that hardship with resolution — a resolution with power and spirit.
The power to make choices and set goals and to act upon them firmly without renouncing those objectives. The spirit to let that courage succeed by the behaviour and attitude shown to the world about them.

“That courage has been exemplified by all the young people here, but not only by those who have been nominated, but also by the parents, siblings, grandparents, and carers of these amazing young people who share in their lives and live with their difficulties.”

Karen thanked staff, teachers, parents, and students from the schools and organisations represented for their time, effort, and enthusiasm for the awards.

She also explained how the Courage Awards has its origin in Mansfield, Ohio (USA) where that city’s Rotary began its programme in 1968, when a retired Salvation Army brigadier, Rotn William McGowan, saw the need to honour worthy students not usually selected for awards — and thus the Mansfield Ohio Courage Award programme started.
It continues to this day and what one Mansfield club started, another is continuing in England.

Among the other guests were the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Paul Southby; the governor of Rotary District 1220, Rotn Martyn Bye, and his wife, Rotn Susan Bye; members of Mansfield Inner Wheel; Inner Wheel district vice-chairman, Lyn Cooper, and her husband, Rotn Paul Cooper. of Bolsover Rotary.

Les Marshall, of Education Mutual, was thanked for sponsoring the celebration for an 11th time.

Tables were sponsored by: Ty Bros Ltd, HW Martin Waste Ltd, Bee Noticed, Asmech Systems Ltd, Portland College, Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, Mansfield Building Society, Fidler & Pepper, Belvoir Mansfield, Mansfield Garage Doors, Plastek UK, Ravenshead Consultancy, and Totally Integrated Systems.

Ellen Gent, of The Rose Bower, Outram Street, Sutton, provided floral gifts for the parents and carers of each nominee.