Southport Pleasureland, the iconic Merseyside amusement park, sponsored the Child of Courage Award in this year’s inaugural Pride of Sefton Awards.
Ever since its gates opened to the public over 110 years ago, Southport Pleasureland has had a long and rich history of providing entertainment for children and their families in the local area. The park’s focus on championing family values and its significant investment in creating a world-class attraction for children to enjoy meant sponsorship of the Child of Courage Award was a perfect fit.
An initiative organised by Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group and Stand Up For Southport, the Pride of Sefton Awards is a celebration of local heroes deserving recognition. Nominations for thirteen categories were sought from residents across the borough, including the Child of Courage Award, which honours children who have shown remarkable courage in the face of adversity.
After an inundation of incredibly worthy nominations, which resulted in a very tough decision for the judging panel, two children were selected to receive the Child of Courage Award at the highly-anticipated ceremony which took place at The Grand in Southport on Friday 28th April. Along with their awards, winners Jessica Dowle and Theo Graham have both been gifted by Southport Pleasureland a family pass to enjoy a day at the park.
Children’s champion Jessica Dowle, aged eight, has had a colostomy stoma since age four and is making huge efforts to raise awareness for children with stomas. Jessica has become a leading ambassador for the charity A Bear Named Buttony, which she has raised over £24,000 for. Jessica has been an inspiration to many, including Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts who is on her own cancer journey, whilst still battling daily herself.
Theo Graham, aged 10, was born 10 weeks prematurely. Since then, Theo and his family have raised funds for Ormskirk Neonatal Unit through various events, raising enough money for a transport incubator. Theo has been a patient of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, which has given Theo a wonderful role this year as a Young Ambassador for his commitment and dedication to his fundraising, from 3 months old and is still a patient there today. Theo is currently raising money for the Surgical Neonatal Unit at Alder Hey, which will offer 22 neonatal cots and 18 individual family rooms so parents can be alongside their poorly new-borns whilst they receive expert care – the first of its kind in the UK.
CEO of Southport Pleasureland, Normal Wallis, said: “Listening to the extraordinary stories of the Child of Courage Award nominees and discovering how each of these children have demonstrated immense courage has been truly humbling.”
Norman continued, “There are so many individuals and organisations doing incredible things for the borough. The Pride of Sefton Awards are a fantastic initiative, giving us as a community a reason to come together and celebrate the efforts of those going above and beyond to make Sefton a special place to live and work.”