Outstanding young people from around Chandler’s Ford were honoured on Saturday during a special ceremony held at Toynbee School.
The Chandlers Ford Kings Court Masonic Lodge organised the event for local children who had achieved a personal goal or who put an extra effort at school or in the community but whose achievements may have otherwise gone unrecognised.
The awards, which are now in their fifth year, aims to recognise attainment by young people through their perseverance, achievement and sense of community – the three categories of the awards.
For some of children, their success was particularly inspiring as it came in spite of disadvantages – some had disabilities or were coping with illness, some were adjusting to life in a new country and learning to speak English.
One youngster had made progress in overcoming Asperger’s syndrome; another had successfully persevered in his efforts to learn to read – others had gone out of their way to be helpful to others despite their own difficulties.
The children were all presented with a certificate or a trophy by Mayor Rupert Kyrle who was assisted by Les Hipwell the Assistant Provincial Grand master of Hampshire and IOW Freemasons.
While praising the youngsters for their achievements the Mayor revealed that he had once attended Toynbee and had stood as a pupil in that very hall adding :
“Who knows? There maybe someone here today who could be stood here on stage in years to come as the Mayor or Mayoress of Eastleigh!”
The mayor said he understood how difficult things could be for young people as he too had experienced times when he found his studies difficult but said these awards showed:
“By persevering and by trying hard you can achieve things”.
The Mayor had been introduced by event organiser Terry Nye who invited Les Hipwell to address the gathering. The Provincial Grand Master told the audience that there was an historic link between freemasonry and the advancement of education and explained the many ways in which masonic charities supported young people today claiming:
“There isn’t a single Children’s Hospice in the Country which isn’t supported by the freemasons “
All the award winners were introduced to the audience by their sponsors – teachers and youth workers -who explained the reasons for each child’s nomination and it was clear that too were justifiably proud of their charge’s accomplishments.
Among the audience celebrating with proud friends and family several of Chandler’s Ford’s councillors were in attendance including Pamela Holden-Brown, Godfrey Olson and both Alan and Haulwen Broadhurst.
Also present was another, budding, local politician – Paul Redding – who is currently standing in the County Council elections but had taken time out from campaigning to see his youngest son Lewis (aged 9) receive a prize.