The Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards VIP Launch Party: 20 March

On Wednesday evening I attended the launch party for the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards, hosted by PGHL – PinkGorilla HairyLemon. The evening was an opportunity for patrons, guests and previous winners to come together and celebrate the continuation of the awards as it approaches its twelfth annual ceremony.

The purpose of the awards night is to celebrate the achievements and determination of the children of Yorkshire, whilst also raising money for the St James’ Place Charitable Foundation as it continues to thrive following the pandemic.

Ewan Dowes joined by YCCA 2023 Winners

During his speech, Ewan Dowes, the Chairman of St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, couldn’t emphasise enough the fact that the evening was wholly concerned with celebrating the amazing achievements of the children nominated. Taking the opportunity to chat with Ewan after he made his speeches, he confirmed that the Awards night itself is different from a typical ceremony, because it removes any corporate elements and instead commits to making the evening as fun and magical for the children attending as possible.

Leeds-based global telecoms company Core Telecom is the headline sponsor for the second year running. CEO Mahmood Mahzer told us that his company is “proud to have played a part in such a great event and continue to support such a great charity. Here’s to more smiles, dreams and brighter futures ahead!”

The launch party itself was situated in Banyan in Leeds City Centre, where guests were welcomed with drinks, food and live music from a saxophonist from Start To Finish Music, who provided consistent entertainment, covering both classic hits and modern songs. The launch night was a fitting event for the awards night later in the year, and gave those attending a flavour of what they can expect.

Several special guests were in attendance last night, including rugby legend Rob Burrow CBE, Leeds Rhinos players Rhyse Martin and Ash Handley, women’s rugby league player and commentator Danika Priim, Natalie Anderson (actress and tv presenter and Brian Deane (ex-LUFC), who were all open about their continued support of the charity, the awards night and everything the charity team manage to achieve.

Yorkshire TV favourite Christine Talbot was also in attendance. She will once again host the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place on the 18th of October at Leeds’ New Dock Hall, alongside BBC Weatherman Jon Hammond.

Rhyse Martin and Ash Handley with their partners

In 2023, the event managed to generate over £100,000 in donations, a figure Ewan Dowes hopes to at least match, if not exceed, this year.

The award categories for 2024 are as follows:

· Sporting Superstar

· Fantastic Fundraiser

· Compassionate Carer

· Beyond Bravery

· Amazing Achievement

· Children’s Charity of the Year

Last year’s Compassionate Carer award winner, Maya Burrow, said that the ceremony made her feel “lucky to meet many courageous children and hear their incredible stories. It made [her] feel proud to be from Yorkshire.” I certainly feel the same way – the stories of courage and resilience that were shared during the evening made me even more proud to be from Yorkshire.

Maya Burrow with her parents Rob and Lindsey, Christine Talbot and Natalie Anderson

Alongside Maya and the other previous winners was a young man called Layton Cawthorn, who won the Amazing Achievement award (13-18) last year. He has tirelessly fundraised since 2021 when his close friend Daisy fell ill. Daisy sadly passed away in December of 2023. Now Layton is going to be fundraising again, when he will be completing a bike ride from London to Amsterdam from the 5th to the 9th of June. When asked, Layton said he was completing the ride to keep Daisy’s memory alive. Further Details about Layton’s ride can be found here.

Yorkshire TV favourite Christine Talbot was also in attendance. She will once again host the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place on the 18th of October at Leeds’ New Dock Hall, alongside BBC Weatherman Jon Hammond.

Rachel Woolford and Heart Radio’s Dixie

The funds that are raised by the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards have helped children across Yorkshire greatly and supported community groups and organisations across the region. Every donation raised at the awards is matched £ for £ by St. James’s Place.

YCCA Ambassadors Danika Priim and Terry George

Information about the awards night itself, alongside links to buy tickets or pledge sponsorship, can be found here.

All photography provided by PGHL.

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