An awards event that honours the bravest and most courageous children in the region raised more than £100,000 for charity - double the amount raised last year.
The Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards (YCCA), which took place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on Friday, raised money for grant-givers the St James’s Place Foundation.
The Yorkshire Post is the media partner of the awards, which aims to raise money to help disadvantaged youngsters while acknowledging those in the region who have shown courage in dealing with difficult circumstances.
The awards, which were compared by BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern, included an auction, with the top prize, four tickets to see One Direction anywhere in the world, donated personally by the band’s Doncaster singer Louis Tomlinson, raising more than £2,000.
In total, donations, sponsorship and ticket sales raised more than £50,000, which will be match-funded by the St James’s Place Wealth Management company, making it the biggest total yet in the four-year history of the awards.
Stephen Mitchell, Leeds’ representative of the St James’s Place Foundation, said: “It’s an unbelievable total, we’re delighted. It just goes to show the generosity of the people there on the night.”
The money will go to the Foundation, which provides grants to local, national and international charities.
“We do incredibly due-diligence to ensure every penny is well spent,” said Mr Mitchell. “We want our money to make a lasting difference.”
Entertainment on the night was provided by tenor Jonathan Ansell, and celebrity support came from the likes of entertainers Billy Pearce and the Chuckle Brothers, Leeds Rhinos player Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Yorkshire County Cricket captain Andrew Gale, and more.
Award winners on the night included nine-year-old Reece Randall, of Bingley, who was joint winner of the Special Recognition Award in the 0-12 category. Reece overcame leukaemia, and inspired by the treatment he received, his grandad Colin Nesbitt set up the Little Heroes charity to provide toys to children in hospital. Along with his grandad, Reece delivers toys to children at Christmas and has taken part in numerous fundraising events.
Nathan Popple also received a Special Recognition award, in the 13-18 year group. Nathan, of Adel in North Leeds, set up the Accessible Leeds website to make his home city a better place for wheelchair users like himself.
York-based charity Jessie’s Fund won the group award, which was voted for by the public. It started working in children’s hospices nearly 20 years ago, giving staff the confidence to use simple musical techniques as a way to communicate with children.
Mr Mitchell said: “I was fantastic to see the winners on the night. These are children who have disabilities or challenges, and yet the way they deal with them is inspirational. It was an amazing event.”
For information on all the winners and a video of the event, click here.