A young woman has been recognised for her bravery, courage and determination after helping bring the perpetrators of a shocking crime to justice.
Chloe Donnelly was just 16 when she witnessed two men behaving inappropriately with a young boy while she was on the bus to work in Rochdale.
Helpless to stop what was happening, she knew she had to do something and gathered important evidence which would eventually see a case brought to court.
Ms Donnelly, now 19 and an apprentice administrator at Todmorden High School, said: “I thought they were playing a game at first. I was thinking, do I do something or do I not.
“I just left it and then I saw the same people again and the same thing happening.”
The quick-thinking former Todmorden High School pupil decided to video the men and soon saw that it wasn’t a game, it was something more sinister, and she needed to report it to the police.
She added: “I was just in bits and I still feel sick thinking about it now. I’m proud I have changed that little boy’s life. He is never going to live a normal life but if it wasn’t for me, he might still be going through it.
“At first I was scared to go to the police in case I was wrong about what I had seen, or I thought they might think I wasn’t telling the truth.
“My advice is that you always need to tell somebody when something is wrong, you never know it could change somebody’s life.
“I believe that if somebody sees something they think is unusual or wrong, something that just doesn’t look right, they should report it to the police.”
Just before Ms Donnelly was required to stand and testify in court, both men pleaded guilty to eight crimes and are now awaiting sentencing.
Todmorden High School has now awarded their brave employee the Callum Regan Award for altruism and bravery, in memory of the ex-pupil and friend of Ms Donnelly’s, who tragically died following a car crash in April 2014.
The school said: “We couldn’t be more proud of Chloe, she truly embodies the mantra of Aspirational, Inspirational, Remarkable and we hope that she will become a role model to all of our students and all other members of the community, encouraging young people to use their voice.
“She has been a fantastic asset to her school and its community and we hope that we will continue to see great things from her in the future.”