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Simon Cowell and Alexandra Burke confirmed for Children’s Champions Awards as winners announced‏

| On 27, Mar 2011

The News of the World Children’s Champions Awards have announced this years inspirational winners. Now in its eighth consecutive year this heart-warming and prestigious awards ceremony celebrates and recognises some of the UK’s unsung heroes who go the extra mile to make a real difference to the lives of children. Hosted by Davina McCall on 30 March 2011 this years awards are set to be bigger than ever, an extended TV broadcast is scheduled for Sunday 3 April on Sky Living HD at 6.30pm.

Among the celebrities who can’t wait to meet them at this evening of astounding tales of courage and sacrifice are Alexandra Burke, Davina McCall, Simon Cowell, Rio Ferdinand, Barbara Windsor, James Corden, Stacey Soloman, Peter Andre and Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff.

Mum-of- three Davina, who is presenting the big night, said: “I’m an emotional person and I’m never more emotional than when I see people doing amazing, thank-less tasks. It’s great to have the chance to give them a pat on the back and say, ‘We see what you’re doing and thank you.’”

Alexandra Burke, who will be singing, said: “When I was in X Factor we came to these awards and I remember being moved to tears by the stories. It was so humbling.  I never imagined one day I’d be up on that stage, I’m going to sing my heart out.”

The big night is being launched by Simon Cowell who said: “The room will be full of celebrity guests who know who the real stars are – the award winners.”

The ceremony follows a four-month search to find the biggest heroes for children. The nomination process started in December and thousands responded with stories of sacrifice and selflessness that reveal Britain at its glorious best.

Judges, including Lord Sebastian Coe, Emma Bunton, and Gary Lineker, picked the final ten. And this Wednesday the ten winners will go to No10 to meet David Cameron before the ceremony. The Prime Minister said: “They’re an inspiration to us all.”

The outstanding winners of the News Of The World Children’s Champions Awards 2011 are as follows:

Special Award 1
15-year old Lyndon Longborne of Country Durham is proof that meningitis doesn’t have to get in the way of your dreams, as he is an internationally competitive swimmer with goals to swim for Britain in the 2016 Paralympic Games. Despite losing both legs, one hand, and the fingertips on the other to meningitis, Lyndon remains active, training over ten hours every week. Lyndon gives up his spare time to mentor four-year-old Robbie Jones, also of County Durham, who has also lost his legs and fingertips on his left hand to meningitis. Lyndon offers Robbie advice, takes him through muscle strengthening exercises, and acts as an inspiration for making the most out of a severe disability. Robbie and mum, Jill, nominated Lyndon for the award as a sign of their gratitude for the hope and motivation Lyndon has shown them.

Special Award 2
Surgeon Edward Kiely and his team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London diligently worked to give two conjoined twin boys the opportunity to lead separate lives. Angie Benhaffaf of County Cork, Ireland wanted to acknowledge Kiely’s dedication to her sons by nominating him and his medical crew for the award. She claims Kiely’s efforts extended far beyond the call of duty, checking on the boys even on his days off. The surgery was a great success and the boys have now celebrated their first birthday, all due to the tremendous care of Kiely and his team.

Six-year-old George Mason is the Santa Claus of his local hospital in Earley, Reading. Since being diagnosed with leukaemia, George has spent a lot of time undergoing treatment at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and thanks to his great desire to give to others George has become a local celebrity. He started George’s Marvellous Medicine Fund to raise money for more toys and furniture in the hospital so that patients and their families will be more comfortable and entertained. He has also raised £12,000 for CLIC Sargent, a children’s cancer charity, and his efforts have earned him a nomination for this award by CLIC social worker Linda Watsham.

Braving a shower of bullets, Corporal Aran Rushe of Corelaine, N. Ireland risked his own life to save the life of eight-year-old Afghan girl, Sheefa. Severely wounded by a bullet to the stomach, Sheefa would not have survived had Cpl Rushe not carried the girl to the safety of his patrol base. Tribal elder of Helmand, Afghanistan, Mallem Sadar Mohammed, recognized the Corporal’s selfless courage by nominating him for the award. As heroic as his act was, it is not an unusual occurrence for Cpl Rushe, who is said to have saved the lives of many Afghan children, adults, and fellow soldiers since his deployment.

Taking inspiration from his wife Wendy’s victory over breast cancer, Russell Bricket of Leicester founded Wishes4Kids in 2002, a charity that grants hundreds of wishes for terminally ill or disabled children every year. Whether it’s meeting their favourite celebrity or vacationing in Rome, there is no dream too big for Russell to grant. Such was the case for spina bifida victim, Alex Harvey, who dreamed of driving a stream train. Russell diligently raised enough money for Alex to help drive a brand new, £3 million Tornado train out of Loughborough station. Alex’s mum, Susan, nominated Russell for the award because of the sunshine he has brought into Alex’s life and the lives of many other disabled children throughout the country.

17-year-old Alex Williams has been confined to a wheel chair since he was seven due to a devastating onset of meningitis. Despite being forced to give up his passion for playing football, Alex has remained physically active by volunteering at a local dance group for disabled people in Greater Manchester. His optimism and bright attitude have made such an influence on the group that nine-year-old Jordan Chadderton has nominated Alex for this award. Jordan, who lives with autistic spectrum disorder, has gained confidence and independence from Alex’s class, which help him deal with the bullying he faces at school. Jordan considers Alex his role model and has told his mum, Lesley, that he hopes to be just like Alex when he grows up.

999 Award
Connor Rowntree, 16, is constantly reminded of his traumatizing accident in order to warn others of the dangers of fire and prevent further accidents. The Tyne and Wear native had to endure 100 operations after suffering severe burns from a fire accident involving aerosols and lighters. Connor has selflessly decided to tell his tale to over 12,00 youngsters from secondary schools and colleges throughout Tyne and Wear. Connor hopes that by fronting this fire safety campaign he can make others realize that an accident like his can happen to anyone. The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service admire Connor’s bravery and have nominated him for the award in honour of his efforts.

Post Office
Drugs were becoming a serious problem for children in the Ward End, Birmingham area, and Qudues Zafar took it upon himself to stop it. While holding down a full-time job at the Royal Mail in Birmingham, Qudues used all of his spare time to set up the Stechford Youth Network. This youth club provides a safe haven for kids after school where they can meet new people, try new activities, and most of all, stay out of trouble. Post office colleague, Faron Deeper, nominated Qudues for the award for being a hard-working advocate of safe communities and a mentor to many young minds.

Ten-year-old Tom Cave of Redcar, Cleveland has been nominated for an award through his tireless campaign against school gun and knife crime. After his brother Chris was stabbed and murdered by gang members in an unprovoked attack Tom has worked relentlessly to avenge his brother’s death by presenting his tragic tale to classrooms all over town. Mandy Francis, a children’s rights campaigner, and PC Alan Hancock of the South Yorkshire Police were the ones to nominate Tom and his crusade. They call Tom their hero for taking his loss and turning it into motivation for young kids to look out for themselves and each other.

Instead of leading a typical day job, Wendy Shepherd of Stockton on Tees patrols the streets into the late hours of the night helping abused children escape from predators. Wendy has helped young women in abusive relationships, young men questioning their sexualities, and even children as young as 12 who have been groomed. As the manager of the Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Streets, she has raised over £9,000 for the charity. Jonathan Ewen, director of Barnardo’s North East, has nominated Wendy for boldly going where most do not dare to go in order to give victimized youngsters a chance to lead normal lives.

Over the years the News of The World Children’s Champions Awards has gained widespread celebrity support from the likes of Sharon Osbourne, Amanda Holden, Chris Evans, Simon Cowell, Barbara Windsor and Alexandra Burke who have all praised its work.

The News of the World Children’s Champions Awards 2011 are held in association with The Post Office and Barnado’s and will be broadcast on Sunday 3 April on Sky Living HD at 6.30 PM.