Golden Reward For Big-Hearted Carers

TWO youngsters with big hearts now have Golden Hearts to go with them. Social care heroes have been honoured at the county’s first Golden Hearts awards ceremony at Port Talbot’s Princess Royal Theatre.

Weatherman Derek Brockway hosted the event and presented the 12 awards.

He said: “This evening we will recognise some remarkable people and the exceptional contribution they make towards providing the outstanding social care that Neath Port Talbot is so well known for.

“My mother is a carer, so I know just how much commitment and dedication is involved.”

Among the winners were eight-year-old Milan Takahashi, from Cwmavon, and Renee Walker, aged 11, from Neath.

Derek told the audience: “Milan offers support to his mother and his five-year-old old autistic sister.

“When nominating Milan, his mother said he helps carry bags when they are shopping and looks after his sister in the home and when they are out.

“Milan also shows wonderful patience when dealing with other children who have autistic spectrum disorder.”

On visits to the Special Needs Activity Centre, Milan also helps other children take part in games.

He has also been involved in fund-raising activities and raised more than £100 for disadvantaged children by completing the Sport Relief Mile in 2007.

Derek said: “Renee supports her mum who has depression and helps to care for her brother who has learning difficulties and attends a special school.”

“In addition, Renee helps an elderly friend of the family who lives across the road. She keeps her company and attends church with her on Sundays.

“The lady relies on a wheelchair and Renee will often be the one to push it.

“Her nominator said Renee knows that she doesn’t have to provide this level of care, but does it because she wants to help.”

Two of the other more unusual winners were Detective Constable Phillip House and Constable Diane Coles.

They are vulnerable adult abuse investigators with the South Wales Police public protection unit, based in Skewen.

Between them they have 40 years’ experience and were nominated by senior officers because of the time they have spent dealing with cases of abuse against adults and children — up to 200 of them a year.

Unit boss Detective Inspector Mark Lewis said: “Phil and Diane possess unique personal qualities which help provide a much more comforting and reassuring experience for the victims.

“They have patience, empathy, understanding, thoughtfulness, thoroughness and professionalism in bundles.”

See next week’s Courier for more on the awards.