Our Child of Britain Awards 2022 winners were honoured in an unforgettable ceremony on Friday 24th June at JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London. The star studded event shone a light on some of the most incredible children and young people from across our nation.
You can follow their stories here – Click on their images to watch their stories
Aleesha, aged seven, is the first youth ambassador for Cool Earth and helps them with their mission to raise awareness of climate change and lobbying businesses to operate more sustainably. She continually raises funds and has set up a climate change club at her school to encourage others to look after the environment – they often undertake activities such as planting trees and litter picking. In October 2021, Aleesha was honoured with a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister, and she has also received emails and personal letters from Sir David Attenborough, The Queen, Sir Keir Starmer and more. She has dedicated her time during school holiday breaks and during term time to try and raise as much awareness as possible. She has a bright, bubbly character and is an inspiration to all whom she meets.
Nine year old Sean was asked to produce a mobile game as part of a school project. Instead he chose to create an app to support his Six year old brother Adam. Adam was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and he rarely communicated verbally. ‘Speak with Sean’ was specifically designed for children who are nonverbal to help them communicate. It works by using pictures and sounds that allow the child to communicate what they want and need. As every child is different, the app has been designed to be user specific to each child and to their own wants and needs. He continues to look for ways that he can support his brother and others utilising his technology skills. He wishes more people would design technology with the purpose of helping others, rather than for a monetary incentive.
Tobias Garbutt Weller
Tobias, aged eleven was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and autism at a very young age, making everyday tasks such as getting dressed and writing a challenge. He relies on a walking frame to navigate around his home and classroom, and a wheelchair for longer distances. In March 2020, Tobias inspired by Sir Captain Tom Moore, set himself the challenge of walking a marathon and then spent the next 70 days walking up and down his street in Sheffield with the help of his walker. He then set out to complete an Iron Man Challenge and went on to run a second marathon using a race runner, cycle 112 miles with the help of an adapted trike and swim 2.4 miles in his local pool. He raised over £158,000 for Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital and Paces School for Conductive Education. He is the youngest person ever to feature in the New Year Honours list and has received a British Empire Medal from the Queen.
Ruben & Elena Evans - Guillen
Twins Ruben and Elena, aged eleven, have taken on the mission to make a positive difference to children who are less fortunate than themselves, and at just six years old, they became ambassadors for the Warrington & Halton Hospital. Ruben and Elena have ADHD, which means they overcome their daily challenges and manage their symptoms to ensure this doesn’t stop them on their mission. They’ve completed many Challenges on their fundraising journey, starting in 2018 by completing a 100 km running challenge, followed by another in 2019. In 2020, they worked with Paralympian and 3-gold medallist Stephen Miller on a summer decathlon challenge and a winter superhero 100 km cycling campaign to help with Covid-19 grant funding. In 2021, they became ambassadors for MedEquip4Kids and conducted 100 acts of kindness across the region. In total, their fundraising efforts have helped to raise in excess of £45,500 in just 4 years.
Thea is an extremely dedicated, hardworking and wonderfully talented ballerina. She started ballet at the age of three and trains in Pontyclun at The Ella Morgan School of Classical Ballet. At age eight she performed Swan Lake with The English Youth Ballet, and since then she has continued to have many successes. She trained religiously through lockdown and, despite a broken elbow at the time, auditioned successfully to train on The Royal Ballet School Associate Programme. She was a finalist at The International Russian Ballet Awards and awarded ‘One to Watch’ at the Performance Platform. She has successfully auditioned for courses with The Royal Ballet School, The Bolshoi Ballet School, Paris Opera Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre. She was a featured soloist in The Birmingham Ballet Company.
Brooke, aged eleven, is one of the most positive, courageous and special human beings. She was diagnosed with Alopecia at just four years old. Brooke’s strength and determination has allowed her to focus on activities that she loves including ballroom dancing, acting and presenting. She has even had the opportunity to master her presenting skills when she interviewed Matt Lucas as a volunteer for Alopecia UK. She is a strong advocate and educator for Alopecia and, at the age of seven, she took a school assembly to address her appearance and the reasons why she looked this way. Brooke was voted into the position of Head Girl at her school, where she conducts weekly assemblies and presents awards in front of the whole school. She always puts others first, never gives up and she doesn’t let her Alopecia get in the way of her dreams.
The Byrne Family
Shortly after meeting 10 years ago, Sophie and Sean had their first daughter, Olivia. Sadly, Olivia was born with many medical needs, and she lost her life at just eight months old. After reassurance they went on to have Harry (eight), Reuben (two) and Felix (fifteen months). Reuben was born with the same medical condition as Olivia. As a family, they pulled together, remained positive and worked hard to give Reuben the best life they could. Sadly, Reuben died in December 2021. They have focused on raising money for the hospices that have provided care for their family and they have raised more than £51,500. Harry always said to Reuben, ‘I love you to the moon and back’, and set himself the mission of trekking through a variety of activities to accomplish the distance around the moon. Harry and Felix, Sophie and Sean completed Harry’s last promise to Reuben when he died, and they climbed the Three Peaks together.
Tyler, fourteen, is an exceptional young sports star who has trained since he was three. He is a multiple World Kickboxing Champion, World Games triple gold medallist, Dutch Open Champion, German Open Champion, Welsh Champion, British Champion, European Champion, Kwon Grand Champion, Lords Woods Combat Series Grand Champion, Welsh National Amateur Boxing Champion and British MMA Champion. In 2018 he received the British Citizen Youth Award medal at Westminster Palace for his service to sport and charity, and he was the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, aged 8. Not just passionate about sport, Tyler also gives back to his community. He visited a four year old fan suffering with cancer in hospital and gave him one of his gold medals as well as paying for a specially adapted wheelchair to be made for him. His talent doesn’t stop with sport. He is also an actor and a stuntman.
Fiftenn year old Fazeel suffers from a very rare and painful condition called severe recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (EB). His condition means he is in extreme pain, his joints are contracting and even the membranes in his mouth are fusing together. He has to go through between 4 and 6 hours of painful dressing changes every day and takes lots of medication to help him. Despite struggling to walk, to use his hands fully, to open his mouth easily, he continues to give 100% in everything he does in his life. He has one motto, to Never Give up! Through all the pain and discomfort, he continues to attend a full day of school every day with extreme positivity and determination, as well as attending karate every week. He overcomes challenges on a daily basis, and he does it without complaint and with a smile. He is an ambassador for Debra, where he shares his story about living with EB to educate others as well as raising funds to support them. With the help of his loving family, Fazeel has an amazing outlook on life and has immense ambitions for the future.
Three years ago, Davin’s home was broken into by three men armed with knives and a machete. His parents were forced upstairs while the intruders began to search the house for valuables. Davin heard the commotion and hid under his bed, where he couldn’t be seen. Seeing the intruders feet moving around his bed, he remained silent until they left his room. He phoned the police, whispering into the phone so that he wasn’t heard. When the police arrived, they arrested the thieves who were trying to escape. His admirable early action resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two of the offenders. Davin received a Commendation from South Yorkshire police and recently received a Silver Medal of Police Public Bravery, an award that goes to those who have shown great courage. Three years on, Davin has overcome that traumatic experience and become a mature and strong young man.
Move the Mind
Move the Mind is an incredible charity that is dedicated to supporting young people with a variety of complex special educational needs. Nicole Gillard, founder of the charity, has worked with children with additional needs and disabilities for over twenty years, and she has created an amazing sensory trigger space set in 14 acres of land. The charity and its ‘Horse Boy method’ and ‘movement method’ help children with autism and other neurocognitive conditions to heal sensory dysfunctions and to gain direct communication. Nicole’s two daughters, Grace and Rosie, show true commitment, dedication and enthusiasm to the charity and the young people who access it. Since its inception in 2017, Move the Mind has helped over 80 children and it has changed, and will continue to change, the lives of many young people and their families, creating a safe and peaceful environment where children who aren’t able to leave their family home or attend school can feel relaxed and celebrated, and ultimately thrive.
Eighteen year old Hannah cares passionately about making a difference in her community. During the Covid outbreak, she was on the frontline at a daily project to feed the homeless and vulnerable in Ilford as the youngest volunteer for the British Asian Christian Association. She started volunteering at the Association’s food bank and ‘Meals for the homeless’ project in 2020 and helped to serve 65 people with meals twice a day during lockdown. At school, Hannah became aware that some pupils were using legal-highs, so she started a campaign that led to the creation of a borough-wide reporting portal to help map drug-related crime. Hannah is also a long-term campaigner against knife crime and sat on a youth reference panel for the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime, and was an Essex and Redbridge Youth Councillor. She gave up both positions in order to focus on A level exams instead of going for re-election. Her name is recorded at Redbridge Museum before the £50,000 replica mammoth skull she brought to Ilford from the Natural History Museum in 2015.
Kristian lives with his grandparents and three brothers. Caleb, one of his brothers, is severely disabled, and has no verbal communication. Kristian helps and supports his grandparents to care for Caleb by reading to him and playing with him, and also helping to feed and dress him. Caleb must spend long periods of time in hospital, with his grandma as his carer. Kristian then makes sure he helps granddad at home with his other siblings. Cheshire Buddies is a young carers group that he attends, which supports young carers with a disabled sibling. He is also a volunteer offering help and support to the younger members. Taking on the ‘big brother role’ by helping teach younger children to canoe, climb and swim, and has also been conducting talks, helping on trips and with activities. Kristian is partially sighted, but he hasn’t let this hold him back and is studying for his A-levels with the hope of going to university. He is kind, thoughtful and always looking to help others before helping himself.
Freddie is a courageous thirteen year old. He took control of a situation and prioritised the safety of his younger sister and brother. He stepped into action and protected his siblings after witnessing an attack on his dad. On 5 October 2021, Freddie was at home playing on his Xbox upstairs when he suddenly heard screams from his mum outside. Without hesitation Freddie ran downstairs towards the screams, towards the danger, and quickly found his little brother and sister watching cartoons while waiting for dad to come home as they did every night. He calmly closed the lounge doors, turned up the TV volume and cuddled them both tightly. He held them and didn’t leave their side whilst the paramedics and nurses tried so desperately to save his dad after the attack. Freddie’s swift actions that night ensured that he and his siblings were safe, and he acted as their protector. ‘I’m a brother, and that’s what brother’s do.’ Despite everything he has gone through, Freddie is often heard laughing with his siblings. His dad would be the proudest dad in the room.