TRIBUTE has been paid to the people who make Rugby a special place to live.
The annual Pride of Rugby Awards, organised by Rugby FM, saw a host of awards presented to the people and businesses who strive to make Rugby a better place for all.
And among them were special awards for a brave five year-old who dialled 999 after her mum collapsed on the kitchen floor, an inspiring choreographer who died unexpectedly earlier this year, and a ten-year-old boy who trekked across the Sahara for charity.
Young Sienna Adderley saved the life of her mum Katie – who has a history of seizures – at the end of January with her quick reactions.
With Katie convulsing on the floor, Sienna not only made the emergency call but also looked after little brother Riley while waiting for medics to arrive.
Rugby FM Chief Executive Steve Orchard said: “While she (Sienna) says it’s “nice” that people have called her brave, and she’s proud to have won the Young Epilepsy Champions Award for saving her mother’s life, she’s just glad to have helped her mum out.
“According to a nominee, she always attends school with a smile on her face and is an active member of several after-school clubs, despite being a Young Carer, with responsibilities well beyond her years.”
Choreographer Vicki-Jo Gurney was posthumously honoured for the many young people she inspired.
The 41 year-old – who passed away suddenly in March while on a short break abroad – worked closely with Rugby Theatre and the Christine Anderson Theatre School in the town.
Mr Orchard said: “She is someone who has touched the lives of countless individuals, through years of hard work, an unparalleled passion for dance, and dedication to those she taught.
“She has been described as an ‘unsung heroine’, who didn’t just teach – she inspired. She transformed the lives of those in her care, developing lifelong skills, and even setting some on the path to highly successful careers in the industry.”
“A tribute page on Facebook has drawn message after message just weeks after her death, describing a woman who, by all accounts, was a privilege to know.”
Ten-year-old Bilton C of E Junior pupil Freddie Cannell was named Young Achiever of the Year after he overcame snakes, sunstroke and steep sand dunes to complete a four-day quest across the Sahara, raising over £6,000 for Guide Dogs.
Also honoured with a special award in Rugby World Cup year was ScrumKids, for re-enforcing the town’s links with the sport it gave its name to.
The organisation started out simply looking to offer rugby-based sports sessions for a handful of youngsters in the area, but in just two years has become a successful business coching over 500 children across six counties, and supporting chosen charity Meningitis Now.
Mr Orchard said: “In the midst of growing concerns regarding a seeming lack of interest in health and fitness from the younger generation, this team of locally trained staff are sharing a passion for sport with Rugby’s youngest citizens, which will stand them in good stead for a lifetime.”
See this week’s Rugby Observer (click on ‘E-Editions’) for a full list of Pride of Rugby winners and nominees.