Inspirational Evie scoops courage award

SHE has already achieved a remarkable amount during her young life.

SHE has already achieved a remarkable amount during her young life.

But yesterdaywill be a day that brave teenager Evangeline Edwards never forgets.

The 13-year-old from Elmsett received the True Inspiration award at the Woman's Own Children of Courage Awards 2008 from Prince Harry.

Before the award ceremony at Westminster Abbey the youngster joined nine other winners outside 10 Downing Street where they were greeted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The teenager, known as Evie, was born with Thrombocytopenia Absent Radius, a rare condition which causes shortened arms and a blood clotting deficiency.

Despite having to walk with calipers from the age of two, she has always loved sport and was keen to try everything.

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Evie received an unexpected blow in July last year when she lost the ability to stand or walk.

But she bounced back and did not let the setback get her down.

Speaking at the time she said: “I've spent a week thinking about the things I can't do anymore, now I'm going to spend the rest of my life thinking about what I can do.”

In the last year Evie has won six gold medals and one silver at the Disability Sport Events (DSE) Swimming Nationals, three gold and a bronze at the DSE Athletics Nationals, and came fourth in the dressage at the Riding For The Disabled Nationals.

She has also used her talent at sports to raise money for other children who need wheelchairs by taking part in sponsored swims.

She was joined at the award ceremony by mum Sue, 42, and brothers Josh, 15, Jake, 10, and sister Beth, 17.

Josh paid tribute to Evie saying: “She's extremely optimistic most days and she does bring a smile to peoples' faces when she comes into the room.”

Mrs Edwards said: “I'm proud of all four of my children. Evie gets support from all her brothers and sister - she wouldn't be where she is today without their encouragement.”

The award ceremony took place in front of a star-studded congregation including pop group Girls Aloud, TV comic Catherine Tate and Katie Price and Peter Andre.

Do you know an inspirational youngster? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk