“Made it, Ma! Top of the world”.

It’s a quote from the film White Heat by  Hollywood star James Cagney way back  in 1949.

But yesterday you could excuse young Harry  Crowther from repeating that line.

The youngster was genuinely on a high as he  became the first winner of a community award.

It was presented to Harry, who is battling a  rare disease, at the top of the Arqiva Emley  Moor TV mast – 275.3m above the West  Yorkshire countryside.

And the young man was thrilled to be there,  after being ferried to the top of the mast in a  rattling steel lift that takes eight minutes to make  the journey up inside the concrete tower.

Harry, 14, who finished lessons at Castle Hall  School in Mirfield yesterday for the summer  break, won the award which was inaugurated by  Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell.

The awards were sponsored by Arqiva, who  handle TV, radio and mobile phone signals  across the UK from their Emley control room.

Mr Reevell made the presentation in the  viewing room at the top of the mast as Harry and  other guests admired the stunning views which  stretched as far as the Pennine moors on one side  and the Vale of York on the other.

The awards were to honour people who make  a real difference to the community in the MP’s  Dewsbury constituency.

Harry was a clear winner from some wonderful entries, judged by three news journalists –  Neil Atkinson (Huddersfield Examiner),  Hannah Ridgeway (Dewsbury Reporter) and  David Bentley (The Press).

Harry, 14, suffers from a rare form of  Progeria, a genetic disorder which means that he  is ageing five times faster than his contemporaries.

 

The condition means that Harry experiences  many of the arthritic, cardiovascular and  respiratory ailments more common to old age.

But he is renowned for his cheerful, positive  outlook and his determination to live life as fully  as possible.

He actively fundraises for the charities,  Progeria UK, Progeria Family Circle and Great  Ormond Street Hospital and has a big  fundraising day coming up on August 1.

Yesterday he was joined by his mum and dad,  Sharron and John, and 17-year-old brother Jack.  Big sister Emma, 19, could not make it – she was  thousands of miles away in the United States on  a Camp America expedition.

Modest as ever, Harry said: “It’s an awesome  experience to be up at the top of the mast. It’s a  once in a lifetime chance.

“It’s even better than I thought it would be.  I’ve been looking for our house from up here.

“Out of all the people who were nominated I  never expected I would win. I don’t think I have  done anything special; I just get on with  things”.

Harry’s mum Sharron smiled as she listened  in.

“It’s so humbling to see him get praised.

“He just gets on with his life and finds it very  hard to understand why people think he is  special.

“It has been a fabulous day and to come to the  top of the TV mast is awesome. I thought I’d be  scared but it is brilliant”.

Mr Reevell presented Harry with a  framed certificate and the youngster  also received a digital radio  from Arqiva, who run the TV  mast.

Mr Reevell said: “Harry is a  deserving winner and I am  delighted he has become the first  winner of what we hope will  become an annual award.

“I know the judges and  myself were overwhelmed by  the entries. There were  some truly remarkable  stories in there, about  truly remarkable  people.

“I know when I rang  up one or two of them to congratulate them they  were surprised.

“Not one of them thinks they have done  anything special”.

Yesterday’s award was just the latest in a series  of honours for Harry.

He is a previous Examiner Community Award  winner, has received the Elizabeth Peacock  Award for outstanding achievement in scouting,  an honour usually reserved for adults, and the  Chief Scout Award for meritorious conduct.

Last year, he ran a leg of the West Yorkshire  Olympic torch relay and has shown great courage in raising awareness of his condition by  visiting schools, care homes and local shows  with his torch to talk about the challenges he  has faced and the privilege of representing his  local community. In doing so, he met more  than 5,000 people.

 The judging panel also chose three  highly commended candidates.

Peter Jagger was nominated for his dedication to the life of Upper Hopton, particularly  its cricket club; Anne Thornton for her  contribution to a variety of groups,  including local scouting, the Disabled People’s Electronic Village  Hall and the Dewsbury West  Community Centre and Pat  Ainsworth, of Emley, for her  marathon-running and fundraising achievements.