Another top award for inspirational teenager

RECOGNITION: Jack Marshall, of Belton, receives his Shine a Light Young Young person of the Year award from TV personality Vanessa Feltz.
RECOGNITION: Jack Marshall, of Belton, receives his Shine a Light Young Young person of the Year award from TV personality Vanessa Feltz.

Disabled Jack, of Green Lane, Belton, went to London to accept the award for his outstanding contribution to the Hello campaign national year of communication.

Hello aims to make children and young people’s communication development a priority and the awards recognise individuals and groups who have excelled in the area of speech, language and communication.

Jack suffers from a rare neurological condition called Moebius Syndrome which affects his life in many ways but this has not stopped the youngster raising thousands of pounds for charity.

He was once told he would never walk or talk but the 13-year-old is now the voice of ‘Thumbs Up’, a consultation group for children and young people with disabilities.

Jack was invited by his local Integrated Children’s Disability Team to assist in interviewing disability social workers and respite staff.

He has already been voted the Young Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year and he reflected on his latest award.

“It would make me happy that giving a voice to disabled children was important enough to win,” he added.

“If you cannot do something - talk or sign - just keep on trying, because eventually, like me, you will do it. And if they say you can’t – don’t believe them because you can. I believe in you.”

The glitzy awards ceremony was not Jack’s first visit to the capital this year, having made a speech to the House of Lords as ambassador for the charity Move.

At the ceremony he was presented with a glass trophy, video camera and £300 worth of shopping vouchers by TV personality Vanessa Feltz.

Jack’s sister, Jamie (17), travelled with him to London. She said: “To see Jack’s face when he won was quite a picture, he looked gobsmacked!

“He went up to collect his award whooping and cheering and we all had a fantastic night.”

Steve Kelly, Corporate Responsibility Engagement Manager of Shine a Light sponsors BT, said: “Jack’s positive outlook and sense of purpose is awe-inspiring and he truly deserves to be crowned Young Person of the Year.”

Proud mum Linda added: “To be recognised with this award is amazing.

“He just seems to entrance people, he’s so confident and outgoing.

“Everything comes from the heart, I can’t describe him in one word, he just lives life to the full.”