Pride of Shropshire Awards 2013
A mother who gave her severely disabled child the chance of life, only to see him die just hours after he was born, has been crowned the 2013 Pride of Shropshire champion and winner of the Courage award.
When Katyia Rowe, 26, from Overdale in Telford, saw her unborn baby blowing bubbles and waving his arms on a 3D scan, she knew she could never abort him – despite doctors warning that his brain had not formed properly, and he would need 24-hour care.
Weighing just over 6lbs, he tragically died just nine hours after being born. But Katyia and partner Shane have used their heartbreak as inspiration to help others and have become dedicated fundraisers for Sands, the Stillborn and Neonatal Death charity.
The couple set up website www.lucian.johnson.muchloved.com not only as a celebration of their much-loved son’s life but also to encourage people to donate to Sands.
Katyia was one of nine winners at the Pride of Shropshire 2013 presentation evening, held at Shrewsbury Town Football Club. The awards were organised by the Shropshire Star in conjunction with dairy giant Muller, and supported by a string of other top sponsors.
This year’s Learner award went to David Lakin from Child’s Ercall, near Market Drayton. David found himself struggling to get work after being made redundant, so he enrolled at Walford & North Shropshire College as a mature student, on a two-year course in animal management.
At the time he was married with two young children, and although he excelled on the course, his home life was deteriorating.
Because David was a full-time student, his wife had to register for work, just so they had enough cash to run the family home.
Things took a turn for the worse, and David’s marriage broke down, leaving him facing homelessness as he could not afford to rent. So he took a part-time job at Walford, feeding the animals at weekends.
David managed to continue his course and gain a Distinction in every module. The college was so impressed that he was offered a job there as an animal technician.
The winner of the Local Heroes award for members of the emergency or armed forces was heroic Corporal Sean Jones, from Market Drayton. Corporal Jones led a bayonet charge over 90 yards of open ground in Afghanistan under a hail of enemy fire, earning the Military Cross for his bravery. His split-second decision “completely turned the tide” of the battle around the Taliban stronghold of Babaji, according to colleagues.
The 25-year-old father-of-two forced the Taliban to retreat in complete disarray through “unflinching courage and extraordinary leadership”, his citation said.
The Youth Community award, for young people making a difference in their area, was won by Imogen Bickford, from Morda.
The pupil at the Marches School in Oswestry decided last year she wanted to do something to help the local youth.
She drew up a petition calling for exercise equipment to be set up in her village, and members of Oswestry Rural Parish Council took her bid to St Oswald & Llanymynech Local Joint Committee which awarded her £1,000. Shropshire Council then added a further £2,000.
Judith Shone, known by most people as Judy, won the People’s Champion award for her work bringing the community together in Bayston Hill, near Shrewsbury.
For many years, she has written and produced the annual pantomime, bringing generations of locals together from October to February for a much anticipated project which has earned a loyal following.
She is also an active committee member at the village hall which, during the past year, has included playing a pivotal role on a focus group to help with the Bayston Hill ‘Jubilations’ to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
This year’s Special Young Person prize was awarded to young carer Sophie Stevens, from Westbury, near Shrewsbury, who helps to look after her mother who has multiple health issues.
In addition to her caring role, she is passionate about first aid and has dedicated time to train as an event first aider.
Vanessa Turner, of the British Red Cross, in Shrewsbury, says: “Sophie has shown her dedication to the British Red Cross by finding time to raise funds for both projects. She recently undertook several fundraising challenges and raised over £400.
“This money helped to fund an outing for the young carers, to enable these people to have a well-earned break from their caring role, as well as paying for a defibrillator that is used within first aid.
Pupils at Ladygrove Primary School in Dawley, Telford, were asked why they believed their headmaster Paul Sanderson deserved to win the Environmental Champion award.
The youngsters wrote: “He talks to us in assembly about picking up litter. We all now want to pick up litter off The Wrekin.
“We have an eco-committee because he wants us to get our Green Flag. The teachers moan that they are cold because he keeps the heating too low! We don’t need lots of lights because we use light from the sun in special pipes. We recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, clothes and tins. We have a compost heap. We have chickens and we all get to take an egg on a Friday. We also have a solar panel and a wind turbine.”
Pat Magner, a familiar face around Bridgnorth, won the Carer award. As a foster carer, she is someone usually seen wheeling a pushchair through the town, always putting children first.
She gives them hope, comfort, a home and the security of being loved when they are often at the most vulnerable point of their lives. Over the past 25 years, Pat has taken in tiny babies only a few days old, as well as other older children who have suffered tragically in their early lives.
The Good Neighbour award went to Zoe Keeling, who lives in Little Stretton. She was part of a group of local mums who raised thousands of pounds to create a play area for children in Church Stretton, and a sensory garden for disabled youngsters.
Within days of its opening, however, the Brookbury Community Sensory Garden in Churchill Road was wrecked by vandals.
The sickening crime made front page news in the Shropshire Star, and was a big blow to children who spent hours putting in the plants during a community planting day.
The garden was the crowning glory of a six-year campaign by a group of working mums in Church Stretton.
Zoe said: “The play area was completed two years earlier but then some people said it would be good to have something for youngsters with disabilities. That’s how the idea for the sensory garden was born and we raised £10,000 to pay for it.”
The Shropshire Star’s assistant editor, Carl Jones, who compered the ceremony, said: “It’s an event our newspaper is immensely proud to be involved with; an opportunity to turn the spotlight on un-sung heroes who have made an outstanding contribution to their communities, showing courage, determination, generosity . . . or, in most cases, a combination of all three.”