SEAFORD: Top award for determined duo

Rhys Watkins and Kai Rowe were presented with the Brian Smith Acheivement Award by NPS Lions president Bill Yoxall. On the left of the picture is headteacher Gianni Bianchi

Rhys Watkins and Kai Rowe were presented with the Brian Smith Acheivement Award by NPS Lions president Bill Yoxall. On the left of the picture is headteacher Gianni Bianchi

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TWO Seaford schoolboys were presented with an engraved silver cup after being named winners of the Brian Smith Achievement Award.

The awards are run by Newhaven, Peacehaven and Seaford (NPS) Lions Club and were set up in memory of one of the organisation’s past presidents, Brian Smith, who dedicated his life to supporting youngsters.

He was the head teacher at East Quinton School in Seaford, now Cuckmere House School, for 12 years.

The awards are given to children who have won through against the odds and nominations can include a young person who has overcome a serious illness or is exceptionally brave in spite of a disability.

Last week Cradle Hill pupils Kai Rowe and Rhys Watkins received the engraved silver cup and a cheque for £100 from NPS Lions president Bill Yoxall.

Eleven-year-old Kai has had hearing loss since birth. Through all his years at Cradle Hill School he has had many appointments and procedures, including an important operation to remove some bone from one of his ears.

For the last few months he has had to wear a hearing aid all the time. He has managed this incredibly sensibly and maturely and has been able to talk to other pupils in a really informative way to help them understand what it is like to wear a hearing aid.

In addition to his own problems Kai has had to help and support his mother at home.

Last year she had a bad fall and broke several bones in her leg. She was in a wheelchair for a long time and needed a lot of help.

Kai was nominated for the Brian Smith Achievement Award by the school inclusion manager, Jane McNaught-Davis because he has been really brave managing his hearing loss and all the different tests and treatments he has needed.

Rhys, also 11, has a condition called neurofibromatosis which was diagnosed when he was seven-years-old.

As part of this condition, he began to develop uneven leg lengths which he had corrected by surgery last year.

Following his surgery he developed a malignant tumour in his hamstring around his sciatic nerve and had to have this surgically removed along with part of the nerve.

Rhys began receiving chemotherapy last autumn in three-weekly cycles and has just completed his last cycle.

He has also had to make frequent journeys to London to receive radiotherapy.

The inclusion manager nominated Rhys for this award because of his fantastic bravery throughout his ordeal, adding, “Although he often feels poorly and tired because of all the travelling and treatments he still comes to school whenever he can and continues to take part in all the class activities.”