A TEENAGER who has battled a brain tumour since he was nine has clinched a place at a college for the blind.

Matthew Henson won the Young Personality award in the Examiner Community Awards in 2001 when he was 15.

He was nominated by Moor End Technology College where he was a pupil for his ability to remain amazingly positive despite all the trauma he faced.

Since winning the award, Matthew, now 18, has continued to suffer from the tumour and has faced brain surgery and chemotherapy.

His mum, Jacqueline, said: "Winning the award gave Matthew a big boost - in fact, it meant a lot to all of us.

"But he had a relapse in February 2002 and has had to deal with a lot of surgery and chemotherapy since then.

"He was very ill after surgery a few weeks ago and has had a very rough year.

"Typical of Matthew, he has bounced back and now says he's fighting fit again and can't wait to get to college."

Matthew has gone through an assessment process and earned himself a place at the Royal National College for the Blind from next month.

He will study art, media studies and information technology.

The tumour has left Matthew with a range of medical problems including very poor eyesight which has deteriorated further since 2001. He is registered blind.

Matthew was nominated for the community award by the head of year at Moor End Technology College, Gail Howe.

She wrote at the time: "It would be understandable if Matthew had become depressed and daunted by such serious medical problems, but the opposite is true.

"He is an extraordinary young man, extra special in all kinds of ways and outstanding in the way he has battled against illness and adversity to become one of the nicest, most decent teenagers you could meet."

* The awards are run by the Examiner in association with regeneration company Huddersfield Pride Ltd.

The nomination form is now being published in the Examiner twice a week and the closing date has been extended from the end of August to September 30 to give people more time to get their nominations in.

The awards are divided into 12 categories and Examiner readers can nominate people for the first 11 categories.

A panel of judges drawn from the Examiner and Huddersfield Pride Ltd will draw up the shortlist of three in each category.

Everyone shortlisted will each receive three free tickets for the event which will be held in November.

The 12th category, a special Lifetime Achievement Award, is decided by a panel of judges.

Last year's winner was 1966 World Cup hero Ray Wilson who still lives in the area and was presented with his award by soccer legend and fellow World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton.