Calderdale youngsters’ inspiring stories win them awards for courageous acts

Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards, Billie Lambert (centre)
Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards, Billie Lambert (centre)

The bravery of children from across the region including two youngsters from Calderdale was celebrated at a packed awards ceremony in Leeds.

Hundreds of people out to New Dock Hall for the seventh annual Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards.

Hayden Connett

Hayden Connett

Attendees included famous names such as Leeds United legend Eddie Gray, Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson, Paralympic wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft and former Huddersfield Giants rugby league player Eorl Crabtree.

But it was the youngsters themselves – nominees and winners – who were the real stars of the show.

Among the winners was Halifax boy Hayden Connett who won in the aged 0 to 12 Fundraiser category after making huge amounts of money to support those with his little brother’s condition.

Lewis was born in 2013 with Apert syndrome and has undergone many operations and lengthy hospital stays in Alder Hey children’s hospital.

Hayden, 10, decided in late 2015 that he wanted to raise funds for them to say thank you for all the care the hospital have given his little brother.

In 2016 he took part in a duathlon in Portugal, organised two charity evenings, went to London with his school choir singing in many places including St Paul’s Cathedral and 10 Downing Street.

His commitment has led to him becoming an Alder Hey Children’s Charity Ambassador.

In 2016, with the help of his family and friends, he has raised £24,000. He has spoken in front of an audience of potential major funders at Claridge’s Hotel, which raised over £80,000.

Hayden’s mum Donna said: “His commitment to educate other people from young to old about his brother’s condition and the work of Alder Hey is truly inspirational.”

Billie Lambert from Brighouse, won the 13 to 18 years sporting achievement award.

She initially struggled to cope with her visual impairment after moving up from primary to secondary school but then discovered a talent for running.

She joined her local running club, Halifax Harriers, and held her own while competing against fully-sighted youngsters.

Her coach now believes that, with the right level of work and encouragement, she could make it to the 2020 Paralympic Games. Billie also has a passion for dance.