Highly prized children


An eight-year-old boy who raised money for charity in memory of his mother was among the winners at Sunday's Jewish Children of the Year awards.

At the north London ceremony, staged by Jewish Child's Day and Camp Simcha, Independent Jewish Day School pupil Ben Sinclair received the inspiration award for setting up a sweet shop to raise money for the Gift charity. His mother died when he was two.

The personal achievement category was won by 11-year-old Amy Jo Brownson from Hale in Manchester, who raised £1,500 for charity from a celebrity joke book, Laugh Your Socks Off.

The former North Cheshire Jewish Primary School pupil collected jokes from personalities including Gordon Brown, Daniel Radcliffe and Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks to raise money for the school and Sport Relief.

"It all developed from telling jokes at school," her mother Gill explained. "Amy Jo is a fun, outgoing character and she wanted to raise money for charity."

Hendon nine-year-old Benji Elias was runner-up in the achievement section for raising £4,000 for overseas aid charity Tzedek by completing a triathlon.

Top prize in the bravery category went to Hasmonean pupil, Ariella Aghai, 17, from Finchley, who became paralysed in February after contracting meningitis. She had to learn to walk and speak again and was able to walk up the stage steps to receive her award.

More than 350 people witnessed the presentations at the Arts Depot in Finchley.

Jewish Child's Day executive director Daniel Burger said "the kids felt really special. It was more like an Oscar, red carpet award ceremony.

"The judges were bowled over by the amazing things the kids did. All the nominees had done something fantastic things."

Broadcaster Nick Ferrari and Manchester Jewish Federation chief executive Karen Phillips were among the judges. So too was Dame Gail Ronson, who said: "It has been a truly humbling experience reading the stories of our nominees this year. I am so very grateful that they and their families allowed us to share in these accounts of great courage and true selflessness."

The award winners

Personal Achievement
● Amy Jo Brownson
● Runner-up: Benji Elias

● Ben Sinclair (younger); Sam Baum and JJ Kimche (older)
● Runners-up: Joshua and David Gringas

● Ariella Aghai
● Runners-up: Jonathan Ferguson and Julian Richardson

● Joint winners Westminster Or Shabbat Group and Kisharon Choir

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