Brave youngsters’ courage was recognised with Bernard Matthews Youth Award

The 2012 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards at the Open Youth Venue. Two winners of the Bravery award, El

The 2012 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards at the Open Youth Venue. Two winners of the Bravery award, Ellie Stone and Ben Clarke, with Barney Harwood. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Two young people who have shown great courage while facing the toughest of hospital treatments shared the Bernard Matthews Youth Award for bravery in 2012.

Ben Clarke and Ellie Stone touched the hearts of the awards judges for how they both kept smiling despite their gruelling medical battles. Now the search is on for more brave young people to enter or be entered into the 2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards in association with the Eastern Daily Press.

Ben, 13, from Horsford, was given the 2012 bravery award alongside Ellie for his courage in fighting acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after he was diagnosed a day before his 10th birthday. His family was told he may not survive his birthday, and after getting through those scary early days he faced intense chemotherapy treatment. He lost his hair, mobility and everything most of us take for granted, but continued to do well in school and stayed positive despite everything that was thrown at him.

Since receiving the award, Ben has faced further treatment but his family are hopeful this will end next month, and this week he has been enjoying a stay in Ireland at Barretstown, a camp which aims to help children affected by serious illness.

His mum Jo Clarke said: 'Ben was quite overwhelmed that people thought he was brave, and we were all very proud.' She said Ben decided to donate his £500 prize to charity, adding: 'Ben wanted to use the award money to help the smaller charities that have helped him in the last three years. He wanted to give something back.'

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Some of Ben's prize has been given to Kids Cancer Charity, which is helping Ben and his family go on a trip to Florida next year, and some has been donated to Cyclists Fighting Cancer, which has given both Ben and his nine-year-old brother Sam a mountain bike each.

Ellie, from Lowestoft and now 14, was joint winner of the bravery award for the inspiring way she copes with having cystic fibrosis. A cheerful and enthusiastic student at Denes High School, Ellie was nominated for the award by staff at her school who said she brightens up the school with her positive outlook, and despite spending much of 2012 in hospital she continued to meet her academic targets.

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'I know the award was a big deal for Ellie and meant a lot to her, and she's always got those lovely memories of the awards,' Ellie's mum Jennie Stone said, adding that the award is now proudly displayed in Ellie's bedroom.

She added: 'In a way it was a bit ironic that Ellie won the award then, because following on from that she has had to go on to be the bravest she has ever been. She has spent six of the last 10 months in hospital and has had to face some big things. She has had a lot to deal with in the past year but she is always full of smiles no matter what is going on.'

Ellie's mum said the award has enabled to Ellie to buy an iPad which has helped her keep in touch with her friends and keep up with her school work during her stays in hospital.

As well as the bravery award, this year's Bernard Matthews Youth Awards' categories include food, farming, sport, community, charity, arts, and education, with each offering a £1,000 prize. There will also be an overall Bernard Matthews Young Person of the Year Award.

Young people aged 11 to 18 from Norfolk or Suffolk can enter or be nominated. The closing date is Friday, August 16. To make a nomination, visit or call 01603 706566. Follow @BMYouthAwards on Twitter.

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