Leeds girl's bravery award

A little star has been praised for her bravery by helping her family cope with heartbreaking tragedy.

Four-year-old Jerome Junior - affectionately known as JJ - was killed in a road traffic collision just six months ago.

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But big sister Sharla Nolan's courage and determination has shone through.

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The 11-year-old has become a constant rock to her heartbroken family following the tragic death of her little brother.

Sharla, who hails from Little London, in Leeds, was nominated by scores of residents from her local community to receive the Young Achievers Award at Leeds Black Awards for her determination.

Organiser and founder of the awards, Richard Smith, said that he was amazed with her courage.

He said: "Sharla has shown people her own age and even older that no matter how bad things get or how they seem you can still find a way through.

"You have got two choices - you can either give up or use the adversity to push you on.

"She is an absolute credit to the community and her family are very proud of her."

Sharla's family attended the glittering awards ceremony and there was not a dry eye in the house when she picked up her accolade.

The family are hoping to create a special memorial playground, close to

their home, in memory of Jerome Junior.

But for now Sharla, who has recently sat a raft exams, is focusing firmly on her school work at Ralph Thoresby High School.

Mr Smith added: "People could see the effort Sharla was making to support her mother and father as well as keeping her head together to do her school work.

"She was just determined even through adversity and just kept going and offered a lot of support to her parents.

"Sharla has shown a lot of strength and fortitude."

Other unsung heroes who have made a positive contribution to the city's African and Caribbean community were also honoured at the ceremony.

Among the award winners was 27-year-old Nathan James, who recently received a Pride of Britain Award for his work with disadvantaged young people.

He made the life-changing decision to turn his back on a life of crime after sharing a cell with a heroin addict in Armley Prison.

Nathan was jailed twice and shot in the leg but now he is hoping to inspire disadvantaged youths to break out of the cycle of unemployment and crime.

Mr Smith added: "I think these awards are extremely important.

"They recognise and encourage people to carry on with what they are doing.

"People realise that we need to celebrate what they do."