Winner Harry's walking tall

Winner Harry's walking tall

MIRFIELD teenager Harry Crowther is going to need a head for heights after winning a new community award.

Harry, pictured right, who suffers from a rare form of the genetic disorder Progeria, will be presented with the inaugural Arqiva Emley Moor Community Award at the top of the UK’s tallest TV mast next week.

Organised by Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell, the new ‘Emley’ award aims to recognise the contribution of local heroes to the lives of individuals, or the work of charities and community projects.

Fourteen-year-old Harry is one of only a handful of people in the world to suffer from Atypical Progeria Syndrome (APS).

The disorder means that he is ageing five times faster than his contemporaries and he experiences many of the arthritic, cardiovascular and respiratory ailments more common to old age.

Nevertheless, he is renowned for his cheerful, positive outlook and his determination to live life as fully as possible.

He actively fundraises for charities including Progeria UK, Progeria Family Circle and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Harry, who attends Castle Hall School, has also received the Elizabeth Peacock Award for outstanding achievement in scouting, an honour usually reserved for adults, as well as the Chief Scout Award.

Last year he ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay and has shown great courage in raising awareness of his condition by visiting schools, care homes and local shows with his torch to talk about the challenges he has faced.

Most recently he was highly commended by Kids Count, a children and young people’s think tank, in their ‘Inspire the House’ awards which took place in Parliament just a couple of weeks ago.

Simon Reevell was on the awards committee along with Press editor David Bentley and fellow newspaper chiefs Neil Atkinson of The Examiner and Hannah Ridgeway of The Reporter.

Mr Reevell said: “We received a large number of nominations, all of a very high standard, which made the judging panel’s decision incredibly tough to make.

“However, we were all so impressed by Harry’s uncomplaining attitude, courage in meeting the challenges he has faced and remarkable achievements, that we unanimously concluded that he was a very worthy winner. It will be a great privilege to present Harry with his award during the ceremony which will take place at the top of Emley Moor Mast next week.”

The judging panel also chose three highly-commended candidates. Peter Jagger was nominated for his dedication to the life of Upper Hopton, particularly its cricket club; Anne Thornton for her contribution to a variety of groups, including local scouting, the Disabled People’s Electronic Village Hall and the Dewsbury West Community Centre; and Pat Ainsworth for her marathon-running and fundraising achievements.

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