CHILDREN contending with serious, chronic illnesses have been named as beneficiaries in Keighley’s 2018 Danny Ryan Awards.

Four youngsters will each receive a sum of £500 in the scheme, which has distributed nearly £100,000 over more than 30 years.

They include five-year-old Nicole Vendettuoli, 13-year-old Byron John Dawson, two-year-old Evie Bergan and 11-year-old Louisa Butlin.

These awards were established 33 years ago in memory of a former Holy Family Catholic School deputy head.

Nicole, an Oakworth Primary pupil, was born prematurely at 28 weeks weighing just two pounds, eight ounces, resulting in cerebral palsy which severely restricts mobility.

Six months ago she had an operation to cut into muscles in her back to try and loosen movement in her legs.

She is able to walk with support from a walking frame.

James Travers, assistant head teacher at Oakworth Primary, said: “Nicole is very independent and determined and joins in with everything we do at the school.

“She’s been with us from nursery through to reception, and she copes extremely well.”

Evie was born prematurely at 28 weeks and was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system.

A spokesman for the Danny Ryan Awards organising committee said: “Evie has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy.

“In November last year she had two dangerous tumours removed, and is continuing to make very good progress.”

Byron has cerebral epilepsy and because of the dangers of falling over has to wear a helmet.

His condition started four years ago and he receives specialist help at Keighley’s Beechcliffe Special School.

He is a Leeds United fan and enjoys swimming and playing on his games console.

Matthew Stephenson, one of his school teachers, said: “Since he started here in September Byron has been nothing but positive in his outlook and eager to do well throughout school life.”

Louisa attends St Josephs Primary School and was born with a chromosome disorder which has caused development and learning problems.

The Danny Ryan Awards committee spokesman said: “She is a happy and friendly girl who loves animals.

“She tragically lost her father recently while she was away on a school trip to Paris.”

She was nominated for her award by executive head teacher John Devlin, who said: “Louisa is a very brave and cheerful little girl. She has coped well with all that life has thrown at her.”

The children will receive their awards at a presentation and Holy Family school reunion night on March 10.

The evening at Victoria Hall will run from 8pm till 1am and will feature a bar and two live bands.

People wanting more details about the evening, or who would like to buy tickets, can visit the event page on Facebook, called Danny Ryan Memorial Dance Holy Family School Reunion.

Tickets are also available at Holroyd’s Estate Agents, in North Street, Keighley.