Three Panathletes were given ‘Children of Courage’ awards last night in a major ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, London.

The ‘Children of Courage’ Awards, supported by St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, are now in their second year. They celebrate the amazing achievements of children, young people and their families and carers.

The Awards recognised children in six different categories in two age groups who had been nominated for their bravery, sporting prowess, dedication, fundraising, special recognition and, above all, courage in the face of adversity.

The first award went to Romeo Itonga who won the Outstanding Bravery Award in the junior section.ST7_1339r

Romeo aged 12 (pictured right receiving his award) is from Dagenham in east London. He suffers from painful sickle cell anemia which results in swelling in his hands and feet and bacterial infections. When he was younger, the attacks were life-threatening and caused him to lose some of his fingers. He has regular blood transfusions, gets fatigued easily and his emotional wellbeing suffers.

Despite these difficulties, Romeo threw himself into competing in Panathlon events last year, representing his school for the first time in external sport teams and was able to contribute without becoming too fatigued. Read more about Romeo here.

ST7_1388rOur second winner was Aminata Kalokoh who received a special recognition award and at nine years old was one of the youngest winners on the night.

Aminata, originally from Sierra Leone, suffers from physical and communication problems, having been diagnosed with Global Delay Development and Dystonia. She also has an unidentified neurological condition and semi-purposive movements and poor balance.

Aminata (pictured above with her family receiving her award) communicates via an iPad, sign language and gestures and has made tremendous progress since she has been attending Marjorie McClure School in Bromley.

Aminata won Panathlon’s Wembley National Stadium Trust ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award last year and since then has joined a dance club and has progressed hugely in the last year in both her sporting prowess but also her communication skills.

Jamie Brown is no newcomer to Panathlon having being chosen last summer to read the Panathlon Oath at the London Final at the Copper Box Arena. Here last night he was awarded the Sporting Achievement Award for his prowess in the sport of boccia.

Jamie and Aminata with their awards

Jamie has been a member of Croydon’s boccia team for several years and has taken part in the Lord’s Taverners Boccia Championships for his team. This year, competing as an individual, he came sixth out of the final 14 in the national Heathcote Cup for the best boccia players in the country.

Jamie is pictured in the main photo at the top with his family; sister Chelsea, dad Lee, mum Kerry and teachers Sarah Gough and Fi Bell from St. Giles School in Croydon. Sarah has been Jamie’s ‘ramper’ for several years at boccia competitions and they have developed a highly successful working relationship.

The first London Children of Courage Awards in 2016 also recognised some amazing Panathlon competitors and were followed last year by the West Midlands Awards which again recognised some incredible Panathletes.

Many thanks to St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation for all their work in supporting not only these ‘Children of Courage’, but the thousands of other children who take part in Panathlon during the year.


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