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Moray & Banffshire Heroes 2024: Brave child shortlist revealed!

By Leah Williamson

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Here is your shortlist for the brave child award. Voting closes on Sunday, March 24.

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Ellie McHardy

Ellie McHardy.
Ellie McHardy.

Six-year-old Ellie McHardy has already faced what no child should ever have to, and she does it with a resilience that is nothing short of amazing.

The P2 pupil, who attends Linkwood Primary School, Elgin, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) due to a tumour in January 2023 and undergoes chemotherapy. Her condition also affects her sight leaving Ellie with a very small field of vision.

But these challenges have not stopped her! A nomination said: “She doesn’t complain, she just adapts and continues to amaze us all with her resilience and cheerful nature. She is beginning to learn braille and she donated some of her presents to the children’s ward. We are all amazed at how she deals with the uncertainty and multiple hospital admissions. She deserves this award as she truly is a spectacular little girl.”

Delighted mum Lauren added: “Mum and dad are super proud of Ellie and delighted that she has been nominated.”

Travis Bremner

Travis Bremner.
Travis Bremner.

Forres Academy pupil, Travis Bremner (14) had a tough start to his young life struggling with his speech and language, and he has recently been diagnosed with a hearing impairment.

He has undergone multiple assessments with educational psychologists and occupational therapists, and receives additional support at school.

When Covid hit he was moving into secondary school, already a big step for youngsters without personal challenges. But despite his difficulties, Travis is flourishing at the Academy! The hearing aids have made a huge difference, opening up a whole new world; from pronouncing his words to enjoying the sounds and environment around him.

A nomination said: “Travis has had a rough time with medical conditions and learning difficulties, and he was recently diagnosed with a hearing impairment. He has adapted so well and has been so brave.”

Mum Diane added: “It’s well-deserved for Travis to be shortlisted. He takes everything in his stride. He’s such a brave lad, he doesn’t let it get him down.”

Jessica McWilliam

Jessica McWilliam.
Jessica McWilliam.

Cullen P7 pupil, Jessica McWilliam (11) has a smile for everyone she meets despite living with Hypoparathyroidism, a condition that can cause severe muscle spasms in her limbs.

Jessica undergoes regular blood tests and lives with the constant anxiety that an episode could strike as it did on a family break in Glasgow where she had to be admitted to hospital. She takes medication daily and for the rest of her life.

As well as coping with her condition, the youngster has also faced bereavement, losing her grandparents unexpectedly.

A nomination said: “Jessica is the kindest girl and always has a smile for everyone she meets. She is very kind and helpful to all her peers and often puts others before herself. She is always the first person to run and help anyone.”

Mum Jenny was “super proud” of her girl and her nomination: “She’s been an absolute star, I don’t know how she does it.”

The Good Sleep Company is sponsoring the brave child award.

Managing director at The Good Sleep Company, Scott Birnie, said: “I'm delighted to sponsor the brave child of the year award as I've three small children of my own and I think it's important to recognise when a child does something really special.”

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