A talented singer who battled back from a mini-stroke has spoken of her amazing year since winning a Best of South Tyneside Award.
Ellie Stephenson, from Jarrow, won the Young Performer of the Year category after blowing away judges and the audience at the annual awards.
Ellie was born suffering with meconium aspiration syndrome – a serious condition where a newborn breathes in a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid into the lungs around the time of delivery.
Medics believe the condition could be behind her stroke after a MRI scan showed scarring on her brain.
But Ellie, now aged, 14, didn’t let her health struggles stop her from performing at the Young Performer night held at the Customs House, just weeks after her ordeal.
She went on to sing at the awards night itself and beat off competition to win the title as well as a bursary from the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust to help with her singing career.
It has helped build my confidence up a lot and made me want to do more on a national stage. I would recommend that other people go for it as it is just amazing to be a part of the whole thingEllie Stephenson
A year on, Boldon School pupil Ellie is now putting the cash to good use and has started singing lessons with teacher Tony McNally.
Proud mum Lisa Stephenson, said: “She had lessons with Tony in the past. As she gets older her voice is changing and her ranger us bigger.
“She is working on different genres of music and is experimenting with musical theatre.”
Ellie said: “The lessons have been going really well. I have been working on musical theatre songs from the likes of Les Miserables and I am now looking for a career in the West End.
“Winning the award meant a lot. It has helped build my confidence up a lot and made me want to do more on a national stage.”
There is plenty of time to come forward with the names of those you want to see in the running for this year’s Best of South Tyneside Awards.
Once we pass the competition deadline, a panel of judges will meet to draw up the shortlist around a week later.
Then it’s on to the grand finale at the Roker Hotel on Wednesday, September 19, where we will be revealing the winners. It promises to be a fantastic occasion and we can look forward to it with the backing of a string of fantastic sponsors. The Best of South Tyneside awards, this year, have the backing of Barbour; Harlow Printing Limited; JML; BT South Tyneside; Northumbrian Water and The Customs House.
Watch out for more details on them in the days to come.
In the meantime, let’s start that process of honouring all those unsung stars.
We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards.
So now all we need are entries for this year’s awards and we want you to inundate us with impressive nominations.
Let’s make this a year when the judges have a tough task when it comes to drawing up the shortlist because the standard of entries is so high.
To nominate, send your entries by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to: Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, DH4 5RA.
Greener South Tyneside.
Child of Achievement.
Fundraiser of the Year.
Entrepreneur of the Year.
Carer of the Year.
Sporting Excellence/ Young Sportsperson of the Year.
Sports Team of the Year.
Student of the Year.
Volunteer of the Year.
Child of Courage.
Young Performer of the Year.