Pride of Somerset Youth Awards - inspirational Joe Laoutaris

Yeovil Express: Joe Laoutaris with Supt Ian Wylie Joe Laoutaris with Supt Ian Wylie

INSPIRATIONAL 11-year-old Joe Laoutaris is on a mission to spread the message that you NEVER give up even when you get bad news.

He was among those recognised at the 2014 Pride of Somerset Youth Awards.

The Burnham student, who goes to King Alfred’s School, was last year diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma Tumour, a type of bone cancer.

Despite numerous trips to Bristol for chemotherapy, and waking up every morning with sickness and weak, he wanted to show the year group and his friends that determination is the key and that “you should get stuck into things and do everything you can”.

Joe attends school every day, and has given an assembly to his year group to raise awareness and spread his message.

He has also turned his hand to helping others by raising money in school through baking and selling cakes, non-uniform days and other events to help support Musgrove Park Hospital’s Oak Ward and Bristol Children’s Hospital, who have looked after him.

His nominator, teacher Baylea Charles, described him as “a delightful lad, an inspiration to us all – always smiling, bubbly, chatting and positive about everything, a credit to his family and we’re very proud of him.”

The awards are run by the Rotary Club of Taunton, your Somerset County Gazette, Bridgwater Mercury, Chard and Ilminster News, Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News and local radio station BBC Somerset.

A prize fund came from sponsorship from the Rotary Club, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Somerset Cricket Museum and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

Certificates were presented at Somerset College’s conference centre in Taunton, which was provided free by the college.

To watch video footage from the ceremony, which took place on March 7, see below.

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