Fund set up in memory of deputy head rewards more deserving children

Caitlin Wood

Caitlin Wood

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by

Youngsters coping with serious illnesses and adversity are to be rewarded for their courage.

Five beneficiaries have been selected for a £500 share of this year’s Danny Ryan Award fund.

The fund is run by Holy Family Roman Catholic School, in Keighley, and was set up 29 years ago after the death of the school’s former deputy head, Danny Ryan.

The awards will be presented during a St Patrick’s dance, starting at 8pm on Saturday, March 8, at Victoria Hall, Keighley. The night will feature performances by the Tom Healy Band, from Cork in Ireland.

Organiser Sean Gilligan, who is a former Holy Family deputy head, said: “The fund is still going well. There is money in the bank, but we’re always distributing it. We normally give out £2,000 to £2,500 a year.

“The sum of £500 isn’t a lot of money, but it lets people know that we are concerned and we are trying to do something to help. There is a lot of need out there.”

The young people chosen this year include 15-year-old Caitlin Wood, from Exley Head. She is a pupil at Beckfoot School, in Bingley, and was born with cerebral palsy.

Her grandmother, Marian Morton, said Caitlin was a wheelchair user, needed a taxi to get her to school and had one-to-one care during the day.

“She finds her condition frustrating more than anything else,” she added. “We found out last week that she’d been picked for this award – it’s great stuff.

Another beneficiary is six-year-old Jimmi-Alan Longley, from Cross Roads. The Stanbury Village School pupil has severe eczema, and also has other conditions including asthma and a gastric complaint which limits what he can eat.

His gran, Penny Dillon, said that despite these problems, Jimmi-Alan is very active and plays football for a junior Silsden team. He is also an avid Bradford City supporter.

Tickets for the March 8 awards night are £7.50 and can be bought on the door or booked in advance by calling (01535) 603819 or 07582 549655.

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