THREE youngsters summed up the whole essence of the Examiner Community Awards.
Callum Parkinson, Cobie Booth and Harry Crowther were all smiles as they shared a very special honour for courage last night at the Galpharm Stadium.
Their stories were just three of many moving tributes at a night which celebrated the very best of Huddersfield.
It was a night that they, and so many others, will never forget
COBIE BOOTH, HARRY CROWTHER, and CALLUM PARKINSON
IT was the moment that summed up what the Examiner Community Awards are all about.
The awards have been running for 10 years now, and in all that time the judges have made a decision in every category.
But last night became a first when three young boys who have each shown amazing courage and been an inspiration to us all shared the stage as joint winners.
The judges were totally unable to pick just one winner as all three were so deserving and so Harry Crowther, Cobie Booth and Callum Parkinson became joint winners of the Courage Award.
And there was a standing ovation from the entire room – and a few tears – as the three boys took to the stage.
Eleven-year-old Harry Crowther has a condition called atypical progeria syndrome which is an extremely rare genetic disorder.
It means Harry’s body is ageing five times faster than his friends.
He has already been diagnosed with arthritis and takes painkillers four times a day to relieve him from aches and pains.
But Harry has refused to let it hold him back. He loves to skateboard, swim, bike-ride and climb trees like all his mates.
He has now massively raised the profile of his condition. More than 3,000 people have become members of the Facebook group Atypical Progeria Syndrome – Raising Awareness website as a result of his courage in talking about his condition.
And one person who added some words to the website described Harry as “the coolest dude I know’’.
Harry said: “I’m just so happy that all three of us won.
“I’m really happy and surprised to be here, but it’s a great night.”
Cobie Booth was just two when his mum and dad noticed he had developed a limp and was experiencing pain in his side.
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Steph and Robert Booth took him to their GP and Cobie ended up in Sheffield Children’s Hospital for tests.
As the family was preparing to celebrate Cobie’s third birthday they received the devastating news that he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which is cancer of the white blood cells.
Within days Cobie was undergoing gruelling chemotherapy treatment. He is now four and a third of the way through a course of chemotherapy.
The treatment made him sick and lose his hair, but Cobie’s resilience throughout his ordeal has been inspirational.
The family face another two years of treatment before they can be certain Cobie will get better. But, with his hair now grown back and Cobie due to start school this September, the future looks bright.
Cobie – who was looking forward to his meal – is delighted to have started at the local nursery school in Skelmanthorpe and was all smiles as he won.
Mum Steph said: “It’s fantastic news. I’m still shaking but he has taken it in his stride. He’s doing really well and we are hopeful.”
Click on the icon below for a picture gallery featuring all the award winners from last night.Related content
Callum Parkinson is a born fighter.
The rugby-mad 13-year-old was knocked down by a car, suffering severe head injuries, and doctors told his family to expect the worst.
He was flown by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary where he was found to have serious swelling on his brain and part of his skull had to be removed to ease the pressure.
Despite two further brain operations, the prognosis was not good and Callum’s mum, Christine, and dad, Andrew, were told he would probably not survive.
But Callum is made from tough stuff. After four weeks on a ventilator in intensive care he was finally able to breathe unaided.
He started to feed himself again, regained some of his speech and took the first few tentative steps as he learned to walk again. He’s even kicked a rugby ball again for the first time on a visit to see his team-mates at Newsome Panthers and he’s back at King James’ School in Almondbury.
Callum said: “I’m very happy about the award and surprised to win. I’m happy to be back at school and I’m also going to watch the Giants and the Panthers, which is great.
“I’ve come tonight with my parents and my sister and I know they are really delighted.”
Sir John Harman
HUDDERSFIELD’S sense of community is so strong, think of it as a village.
Those were the words of Sir John Harman as he received his Achievement Award.
Sir John, 59, has stayed loyal to his Huddersfield roots and is now heading a charitable foundation called One Community which will use money donated by individuals and companies to help local charities and good causes.
Sir John was also leader of Kirklees Council for many years, is a former chairman of the Environment Agency and played a key role in building the stadium.
His award was the culmination of another glittering night at the Galpharm.
There were some wonderful, emotional, moving moments as the nominees for all the awards saw their stories played out in front of an appreciative audience.
It was the 10th awards night organised by the Examiner and once again, there were some tremendous tales of courage, of selfless devotion and of pure community spirit.
The awards went to people who simply devoted enormous amounts of time and effort to helping others with no thought of reward.
And there were genuine tears when some of the nominees, notably the brave youngsters, earned the evening’s most generous applause.
Sir John touched on that in his acceptance speech.
He said: “You cannot achieve on your own, you need the support of others, and that is true of so many of those here tonight.
“I have heard so many wonderful, moving stories and I wonder why I have been nominated.”
He said support from his family and from within the community have helped him tremendously over the years.
“My family and friends have been a source of unfailing strength, especially my wife Sue and our four great children,’’ he said.
“And a big part has been the wider Huddersfield community. Huddersfield is a big village, really.
“Without the sense of roots, of belonging, none of us would be likely to achieve anything and that is why the community fabric of our local lives is so important and so well worth nurturing.
“I don’t believe that we have a choice between individualism and community. It’s my belief that without a strong community, no individual can flourish.
“And because we all derive so much benefit from living in strong communities we all have a duty to keep them strong.’’
While head of the maths department at Barnsley College, Sir John became a councillor and by 1986 was leader of Kirklees Council.
In 1999 he stepped down to join the Environment Agency full-time having been on the board since its inception in 1995. He retired in 2008.
He said of his Achievement Award: “This award was entirely unexpected. I have been lucky in having had a very varied and interesting career and I don’t suppose anything can match the honour conferred on me 13 years ago by Her Majesty the Queen – but this runs it close and it does so because it comes from within my own community.
“I am deeply moved by this honour, cannot quite understand why you have bestowed it on me, but will treasure it.’’
And he paid tribute to people who have helped him in the past.
He said: “I have been fortunate in my colleagues within teaching, in the old West Yorkshire County Council where, as a young councillor, I learned a lot from that selfless, cultivated leader, John Gunnell, and in Kirklees where I had the privilege of working with some very gifted and public-spirited people in a period of rapid and necessary change.
“I think of people like Dave Harris, Rob Hughes and Tony Elson, but also some wise old heads – particularly my predecessor, Laurence Conlon – who knew that change was needed and let that be a lesson to us all as we grow older.
“And here at the stadium, I think of working with energetic and visionary people like Graham Leslie and Paul Fletcher.’’
“Nationally I worked with people of tremendous distinction – Baroness Young at the Environment Agency, Sir Jeremy Beecham at the Local Government Association.
“A good deal of my career has been on a national rather than a local stage which is another reason for me telling the Examiner that I was gobsmacked to be honoured tonight. “Whatever I may have achieved either locally or nationally has been with the help, example and inspiration of people like these.’’
The awards were co-presented by Huddersfield-born Nina Hossain, the ITN newscaster who has just landed a new job presenting London Tonight.
She said: “What a delight to be asked back to host such a wonderful event in my home town.
“What an honour it is to learn of the tremendous contributions so many people have made or are making to improve or save the lives of others in and around Huddersfield. What a treat it has been to meet some of those people on their special night.”
And she added: “I hope everyone leaving this stadium tonight does so with a tremendous sense of pride in those who live and work in Huddersfield.”
Examiner editor Roy Wright, who welcomed guests to the event, said: “Whoever the winners, we should remember that all the nominees are winners in our eyes. They are people who make this town such a special place.”