County youngsters honoured in Oxfordshire Youth Awards

Herald Series: Nadeem Iqbal with a photo of his son Haider Buy this photo Nadeem Iqbal with a photo of his son Haider

CLUTCHING his son’s photo, proud dad Nadeem Iqbal picked up a special award in memory of the 12-year-old who died from a rare disorder.

Haider Iqbal defied doctors’ expectations to survive Raine Syndrome for so long, but in December he passed away in his sleep at Helen and Douglas House hospice in East Oxford.

Raine Syndrome is a rare disorder present when babies are born and usually proves fatal a few hours after birth.

Mr Iqbal, from Headington, collected an award on his son’s behalf at the Oxfordshire Youth Awards at Oxford Town Hall.

He received the Jake Spicer Special Recognition award, named after a former St Gregory the Great School pupil.

Jake, from Shepherd’s Hill, Oxford, was diagnosed with bone cancer and raised thousands of pounds for charities before he died in 2009.

Jake’s family handed the award to Haider’s family at Thursday’s event organised by Oxfordshire Association for Young People.

Speaking at the presentation, Paul Lawrence, chief executive of OAYP, paid tribute to Haider.

He read the nomination written by Tracy Jameson, assistant headteacher at Mabel Prichard School in Blackbird Leys, which Haider attended.

Mr Lawrence said: “No number of tubes or drips or medical equipment could stop Haider.

“He played, he smiled, he made friends, worked hard in school, remembered his glasses, lost his glasses.

“Between these activities he had complicated, painful and dangerous surgery for his many conditions.

“His family worried, so did his doctors, teachers and carers. Everyone worried except Haider himself.”

The tribute was just one of several presentations celebrating youngsters’ achievements at the awards ceremony.

More than 300 young people attended the event and were joined by a further 300 friends and family.

Award winners collected their prizes from top VIPs including Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, Oxford United chairman Ian Lenegan and author Philip Pullman.

Winner of the volunteer award Courtney Hughes, 15, from Didcot, raised money to donate presents to children in hospital at Christmas.

She said: “I wanted to give them a gift and give them Christmas.

“I didn’t expect anything so I was quite shocked and very, very happy to win the award.”

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