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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Special award as young Cumbrian Liam steps out of comfort zone

A proud 10-year-old scooped a top award as part of a ceremony rewarding the achievements of hundreds of schoolchildren.

UCanShine awards photo
Liam Butler receives his award from Kelly Pattison and X Factor trio Rough Copy

Liam Butler, a pupil at St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School in Carlisle, picked up the News & Star’s special recognition award at the U Can Shine ceremony at the Sands Centre in the city last night.

The category honoured children who had stepped outside of their comfort zone to achieve their personal goals.

Judges were impressed at how Liam’s self confidence has grown over the course of the year. Last November he had an operation to have his tonsils removed and went on to set himself a target to improve his fitness.

Liam said: “My self confidence has really improved. Before November I did work hard at school but since then it has changed for the better. I’ve set my own goal, I want to improve my fitness.

“I’m really into sport now, I’ve joined the Carlisle Gladiators rugby league team.”

His mum Emma, of Upperby Road, said: “Liam had breathing difficulties before the operation and that really affected him and his confidence, but now he’s really improving his fitness and he’s really passionate about going to school.”

Karen Wood, Liam’s grandmother, added: “I screamed when his name came up as the winner on stage – I couldn’t believe it.”

In her testimonial about Liam, teacher Kirstie Robinson said: “His determination and hard work are really beginning to impact positively on his wider life, his peers around him and he can achieve great things now he has a belief in himself.”

More than 800 parents, teachers, relatives and children attended last night’s awards, which featured two performances by X Factor trio Rough Copy – who were mobbed on stage by youngsters during their final song.

It was the climax to the second year of the U Can Shine motivational programme running in four city primary schools – St Margaret Mary, Upperby, Petteril Bank and Norman Street. It aims to boost children’s confidence and raise aspirations while helping them to develop life skills. It is done through outdoor physical challenges and classroom-based exercises. Children also get to meet employers.

Awards handed out included ones for improvements and achievements in attendance, attitude to learning, literacy and numeracy, self motivation, communication, sporting success and resilience.

The ceremony, compered by CFM’s Robbie Dee, was supported by the News & Star and sister paper The Cumberland News, Flimby-based firm Thomas Armstrong, accountancy firm Dodd & Co, CFM, Sands Centre, Snickers Workwear and clothing company Glenbrae. Stuart Hoyle, from Thomas Armstrong, said: “These children are the future of our industries, and to see them rewarded in this manner must be hugely satisfying for all involved.”

See The Cumberland News tomorrow for more on last night’s U Can Shine awards.

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