Two members of Portland College were honoured yesterday at the 27th annual Courage Awards Ceremony, which celebrates inspirational young people in Mansfield.
Conor Lewis, a learner at the college, and Jamie Davies, a Portland Freedom citizen joined 11 other young people from schools, colleges and charities across the district in being commended at the event held at Portland College, and hosted by the Rotary Club of Mansfield.
Over 135 guests including Rotarians, sponsors and proud family members enjoyed hearing the moving citations read out by tutors and teachers in recognition of the young people’s courage and determination.
Conor was nominated for his award due to “sheer determination, commitment and hard work.” 19-year-old Conor lost the ability to walk in 2015 following a seizure whilst training for his black belt in judo. Since then, after undergoing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy with the Portland College Physiotherapy team, he has been able to learn to walk again. Tutor David Winter, who nominated Conor said: “Conor has started back at Judo, not only training himself, but also coaching others. Emotionally, Conor’s confidence has grown immensely, which has opened up a range of new opportunities for him, including the chance of finding new employment. Conor is not only an inspiration to his peers, but also his family, staff and the wider community.”
Jamie Davies, who attends school at A Place To Call Our Own and spends time at Portland Freedom, was nominated for his award due to his; “personal courage and optimism in the face of daily challenges that others would find difficult to cope with.” Jamie has a chromosomal defect which means he experiences co-ordination problems and has difficulty walking long distances, yet despite his daily challenges, Jamie has not only shown remarkable courage, but also shows compassion and concern for vulnerable people in society. Carol Burkitt, A Place To Call Our Own Chief Executive who nominated Jamie said: “Towards the end of last year, Jamie took part in a cookery project with an occupational therapy student and made a meat pie, which he wanted to give to homeless people in Mansfield.” Jamie also inspired his school to take part in the Christmas Shoebox appeal, and has been involved in cake sales in aid of the Children in Need appeal. Carol went on to say: “Jamie’s thoughtfulness for others less fortunate than him is a continuing inspiration to everyone at APTCOO.”
Portland College Hospitality and Catering learners were on hand to serve the delicious menu of roast chicken breast followed by warm chocolate brownie to all guests. Presenting the awards were Mansfield Rotary Club president Nicky Tomlinson-Murphy and Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Kate Allsop.
Special thanks are given to Phil Constantine from Atmospheric Interiors, who sponsored the Portland College table. Amongst the invited attendees representing Portland College were Head of Physiotherapy, Alistair Beverly, tutor Dave Winters, Assistant Principal for Development, Edward Johnstone, and Curriculum Support Assistant, Anna Shewen. Parent and carers of the nominees, including Conor’s mum Rachael Lewis, were all presented with a huge bouquet of flowers provided by The Rose Bower, in honour of the support and encouragement they provide to the young people every day.
Congratulations again to Conor, Jamie and all of the nominees and their families.
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