The YorkMix Hero Awards 2023 are nearly here! Time to meet our finalists for Outstanding Bravery, Educator and Incredible Child awards.
The award ceremony will take place at York Racecourse on Thursday 26 October where the winners will be revealed.
The final category, The Ultimate Hero Award, will be open for voting on the night.
With thanks to our awards supporters. Keep reading to meet some of our brilliant finalists…
The Outstanding Bravery Award
The Outstanding Bravery Award is sponsored by White Rose Finance.
The finalists for The Outstanding Bravery Award are Izzy Stanton & Bex Bottomley, Nicola Watson and Cain North.
Izzy and Bex have experienced a very difficult childhood and have gone through hardships at a young age. Due to personal trauma they have had to go to counselling and support a family member. “They have both helped me through the tough times,” said one person who nominated them. “I’m very proud of both of them and how far they’ve come.”
Over the past eight years, Nicola Watson has fought and beat breast cancer – but sadly it has returned. Complications during her first battle resulted in frequent trips to different hospitals, and she has now restarted chemotherapy treatment with probable hormone treatment. Someone who nominated her said, “Despite this she has been selfless and uncomplaining, dealing with the pain, nausea, anguish and fear with great dignity, courage and fortitude. She will face the challenge with positivity and a steely determination to win her health battle.”
Cain North, at the age of just 22, suffered numerous seizures back in May and was diagnosed with a stage 3 growing into stage 4 malignant brain tumour. After undergoing two surgeries he is due treatment to keep the size of the tumours down and has also been told they are growing elsewhere. Ever since his surgery, Cain has been doing fundraisers for Brain Tumour research. One person who nominated him said “Never once has Cain been negative about his condition, he has always kept his beaming smile and positive attitude every step of the way.”
The Educator of the Year Award
The Educator of the Year Award is sponsored by York Sport.
The finalists for The Educator of the Year Award are Chris Kelly, James Varney and Miss Laura McFarland.
Chris is a volunteer coach for the Learning Disability team at York RLFC Foundation. “Chris gives up his time to coach the team and travel with them to various festivals held by the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League at various venues across the country,” someone who nominated him said. “Chris is an inspiration and a brilliant role model to the team, and is extremely well thought of by them all.”
James Varney’s driving school has been providing driving lessons in York and the surrounding area since 2010. He specialises in teaching pupils with special educational needs, such as autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia, as well as people who are deaf and hard of hearing. One person who nominated him said “James is not just your typical driving instructor – he tailors his lessons to each and every pupil he has and recognises that everyone learns differently. He has made a massive impact on the community of York.”
Miss Laura McFarland, a teaching assistant and ELSA specialist at Dringhouses Primary School, has helped multiple pupils – whether that be family members passing away or adjusting to a new school. One person who nominated her said, “She tries to help people and make them feel better.” Another person who nominated her said “After I see Miss McFarland I always felt better about whatever situation I was in.”
The Incredible Child Award
The Incredible Child Award is sponsored by The Fancy Dance Shop.
The finalists for The Incredible Child Award are Mollie Smith, Isabella Martinez and Max Howdle.
Mollie Smith, who’s eight years old, wanted to donate her hair to The Little Princess Trust – a decision she made completely on her own and she was ‘adamant’ she wanted to donate as much as possible. As well as donating the maximum 12 inches of hair, Mollie also raised over £1,000. A person who nominated her said “For an 8 year old to want to do this for another child completely through her own decision makes her a star to me and all who know her, but also for willing to do this herself at such a young age is fantastic.”
Isabella Martinez has shown ‘unwavering’ dedication and commitment to OSCAR’s Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity through her involvement in various activities. Isabella has volunteered her time to help produce Booster Boxes, written ‘heartfelt’ cards, climbed Snowdon and Scafell Pike, organised bake sales, and more. One person who nominated her said, “Her contributions are nothing short of inspiring, and she has made a significant impact on the lives of others.”
In January, Max Howdle, age 10, set himself a goal of running 50km throughout February for MIND – after losing a family friend through ill mental health. Max successfully managed the 50km and actually ended up running 78km and raised over £1,300 for Mind. Someone who nominated him said, “Rain or shine he completed each run with a smile, showing great resilience for a fab charity.”