Our Child of Wales Awards 2023 winners were honoured in an amazing ceremony on Friday 24th March at Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel. The star studded event shone a light on some of the most incredible children and young people across Wales.
You can follow their stories here
Fraizer, seven, lives with Cystic Fibrosis and took up golf during lock down just over two years ago to help with his condition. Even though he has only been playing for a short time, he is already better than most adults, winning a series of competitions. Movement and being outside is really important for Fraizer’s condition, and to ensure he stays healthy he does physio in the car before a competition and has to take some of the 50 pills he needs a day as he walks around the course.
He won the US Kids Championships in 2021 and this led him to being qualified to take part in the World Championships in America representing Wales and the UK last year. He did struggle in the heat and humidity as a result of his condition, but that did not dampen his spirits.
He has since come runner up in the British Championship and has taken his trophy haul beyond 30!
Fraizer has trips planned to the USA, Scotland, Venice, Portugal and Africa in 2023.
Avery has been a young carer since she was six and started caring for her father, who has quite a few health conditions, and her brother who has complex needs. Now Fifteen, Avery ensures she helps her mother every day and always takes on so much, including giving medication, cooking, cleaning, washing and more.
She has lost out on so much of her childhood, but she never complains and is always there to help. Diagnosed with significant autism and moderate learning difficulties herself, life as a young carer is challenging for Avery, but she hasn’t let this stop her.
Avery’s brother is non-verbal, so she took it upon herself to learn Makaton, and then to teach the whole family too. This has helped to giveher brother a voice and for the whole family to communicate with him. She is now teaching other families Makaton, so that children with and without disabilities can have a voice or help those without one.
Noah, seventeen, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in June 2021. His only course of treatment is a 78-week course of chemotherapy, which he started in October 2021. When he received his diagnosis, he started to fundraise for The Childhood Tumour trust and raised £4,000 in eight months.
He has been fundraising from a young age and has raised in excess of £25,000 for various charities. He is a youth ambassador for Bullies Out and in 2017 his project to make someone smile was born. Noah is now raising funds to set up “Noah’s retreat” which would provide a holiday retreat, in the form of a lodge or static caravan, where other families can make memories during illness or palliative care. His other projects include donating Easter Eggs, of which he has donated 6000 since 2017 across llamau & Cyfannol.
Noah is a kind and caring person and after a few long and painful months on chemo, he advised his family not to fundraise to send him abroad for treatment, but to let him focus of fundraising for others.
Hari Thomas & Dylan Pritchard-Evans
Hari and Dylan, both aged twelve, play for Swansea City’s U13s Academy and are avid football fans. One afternoon they were being driven home from football training by Hari’s mum. Everything was as it should be, but suddenly Hari’s mum started to feel unwell and eventually passed out at the wheel whilst travelling at speed on the M4.
Instead of panicking, the two boys kept their composure and remained calm. Hari grabbed the wheel of the car and managed to manoeuvre down a one mile stretch of the M4, before exiting on a slip road and parking in the hard shoulder. Dylan helped to guide Hari and told him to put the hazard lights and hand brake on.
Once the car had stopped, they got out, flagged down help and then phoned Hari’s dad so he could provide further assistance.
Their courage in a moment of terror helped to prevent what could have been a catastrophic situation.
The Yeandle Family
It has been an incredibly tough two years for the Yeandle family. In 2020, their son Liam was becoming frequently unwell with no explanation. In January 2021 he was admitted to hospital.
A 10cm mass was found in his abdomen and with fears it was cancerous, tests were done immediately. Two weeks later they received the good news that it was a benign appendix mass and treatment was started with Liam quickly recovering.
However, just three months later Liam’s younger brother Joseph was diagnosed with cancer. He sadly lost his fight in December 2021.
The whole family have remained brave and courageous during such a heart-breaking time. They have pulled together and have now created a charity in Joseph’s
name – Joseph’s Smile. Joseph’s smile was set up to help families like theirs and to help when children’s treatment or equipment isn’t currently available on the NHS. Joseph’s Smile aims to relieve some of the pressure on families by providing a grant system and support network to help families get the help they need.
Daniel has always cared about the environment and his local community. During lockdown, he started a campaign to clean up the notorious flytipping hotspot known as ‘Bogey Road’ on the Merthyr & Gelligaer Common. Daniel kicked off his clean-up campaign by paying for skips out of his pocket money to dispose of fly-tipped waste and by doing regular litter picks on the Common. Once he had started documenting what he was doing and his progress online, local businesses and residents
soon rushed to help by sponsoring waste removal costs. Through working with local businesses in the area, Daniel has successfully removed more than 40 tonnes of illicit waste on the Merthyr and Gelligaer Common.
Daniel has also successfully run a community skip scheme, providing free skips for local residents in the Merthyr borough to use to dispose of any unwanted items or rubbish.
More recently, Daniel has installed over 30+ solar-powered 4G CCTV cameras at major fly-tipping hotspots on the Merthyr & Gelligaer Common to prevent further illicit waste dumping.
Fifteen-year-old Summer is an exceptionally brave young woman who has undergone 49 operations in her life. Diagnosed with kidney cancer at fourteen months old, she has spent years on dialysis as a result of failed intense chemotherapy. In 2012 Summer finally received a kidney transplant, unfortunately the kidney was rejected a few years later.
Summer was on dialysis for six years and received four failed transplant calls before finally receiving a kidney in 2020. The surgery was initially successful, but after a month she was diagnosed with BK virus due to the kidney being rejected. She received treatment in order to attempt to cure the virus, however it will remain dormant in her system for years.
She often suffers from painful ovarian cysts and there is a chance Summer could develop ovarian cancer, but the main concern is that she may lose the kidney.
Despite everything, Summer has always remained positive and often posts updates on social media to help calm others, explain procedures and inspire them to never give up.
Twelve-year-old Serenity was born with clubfoot and has suffered with pain all her life. She has undergone six operations to try and correct her feet, but her left foot never corrected. After years of pain and no luck with surgery, Serenity spoke to her parents and made the decision to have her leg amputated. As much as this devastated her parents, it was the only way that she could have a fulfilling life and get back to being a child again.
The amputation took place in November 2021 and after just six days in hospital, Serenity went home with a smile on her face and more importantly, she was pain free. She celebrated her first pain free Christmas with her family a few weeks later. She returned to school in January 2022 and collected her prosthetic leg in February. She has gone through so much and always has a massive smile on her face no matter what.
Serenity made one of the biggest and bravest decisions of her life and had the maturity to know what was right for her.
Eleven-year-old Olivia is an actress, with the dream of becoming a star in the future. She has Down Syndrome and is living proof that you can achieve your dreams and fulfil your goals in life. Olivia has had several roles already and you’ve probably seen her as Ffion in the BBC 6-part drama IN MY SKIN.
The TV Drama was hugely successful and won the BAFTA for best single drama, as well as three Welsh BAFTAS. As part of the cast, Olivia got glammed up to walk the red carpet at the Welsh BAFTAS in October 2022.
She is a member of the Mark Jermin Stage School and works hard to make her dreams become a reality. Olivia has recently featured in a video campaign that was created by the Mark Jermin Stage School for Hands Up for Downs. She was delighted to help be a part of this campaign and to raise awareness of the capabilities of those with Down Syndrome.
She is extremely ambitious and is already making a mark in the industry in Wales and helping to represent diversity in the creative sector.
Sixteen-year-old Ashlee has been a regular volunteer on the PL Kicks project for two years. PL Kicks is a community programme which uses the power of football and sport to inspire young people in some of the most high-need areas in England and Wales.
This year she has taken over the running of the girls only groups at the sessions and has single-handedly increased the number of activities that the group do. Her drive and enthusiasm have also led to her help on Swansea City AFC matchdays at the family zone and assisting with Guard of Honour activity in front of 17,000 fans at home games.
Ashlee’s work with the Foundation dramatically enhances the lives of the participants. Parents mention how much it has brought their children out of themselves, giving them an abundance of confidence, and self esteem – which was lacking before the sessions began. Her selfless nature and her kind and caring instincts shine through to everything she does.
Dreams & Wishes
Dreams & Wishes is a very unique, award-winning Charity which is run entirely by volunteers. Set up in 2011, it supports seriously ill children, and their families, from birth – 21 years old. The charity aims to grant as many wishes as possible to children and their families, no matter how big or small they may be. They have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds that goes directly to those who need it.
Various activities are also organised by their dedicated volunteers, such as; Events, day trips and parties for children & families, respite holidays for children and families to make special memories together, bedroom makeovers for those who are ill at home and much more.
They work closely with hospitals, medical experts and play specialists, supplying TV screens, educational equipment, and art materials to help children in hospital.
Dreams & Wishes understands that time is very short for so many children and they work at lightning speed to ensure that a child’s wish is granted as quick as possible.
O & H Metalwork
Ollie and Harvey Roberts are officially Britain’s youngest blacksmiths at the ages of fourteen and fifteen. The boys learnt the skill from their grandad when they were bored during lockdown. Over the last two years they have made national headlines, been recognised worldwide, and received two letters from the late HM The Queen.
The boys take part in many different fundraising activities. This includes fundraisers for the Ukraine humanitarian fund, Pakistan flood relief fund, Nightingale house, BBC Children in Need and the Royal British Legion. They were asked to create a large fish to go on display in the middle of a lake in the local park. They took on the challenge and created a 6ft Carp fish using over 400 spoons. After their success, they were approached to make a second sculpture for a park in Wrexham, this sculpture is a 10ft horseshoe (made from horseshoes).
More recently, they have completed the restoration of a 130-year-old coal cart, and they have designed and created our winners trophies this evening.
Fifteen-year-old Movado has faced many challenges throughout his life. He had always had a passion for rugby, but when lockdown hit and further disrupted his education, he went off the rails. Movado would spend his days out on the streets, hanging out with older boys, getting into fights and trouble. There was lots of police intervention, but Movado struggled to control his emotions and wouldn’t listen to anyone.
With the continued support from those around him, especially his mum, Movado was able to have great opportunities playing the game he loved once again.
Towards the end of lockdown, he turned his focus to rugby and stopped going back out on the streets. His on-field leadership and attitude really impressed the coaches and Movado became the first pupil from Greenhill school to be named as captain of the Cardiff Schools team and to compete in the Dewar Shield Competition. He led his team out in the final to win the game.
He has shown incredible resilience, become a leader of men and is continuing to thrive in his newfound life path.