Pirate FM News

WATCH: Cornish children honoured for courage after losing their dad

local heroes - child of courage

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:04am 16th April 2018. (Updated at 7:04am 16th April 2018)

Just before Christmas, three little girls from Roche suffered a tragedy no young child ever should.

10-year-old Enor, 7-year-old Merryn and 3-year-old Lowen lost their dad to a heart attack.

Vinny Leack collapsed in front of the Christmas tree, leaving the sisters at home alone.

They managed to find help and let the paramedics in.

But it is the girls’ bravery since that prompted a nomination from their mum for a Pirate FM Local Heroes Award.

They have raised thousands of pounds for the British Heart Foundation to stop other families going through the same thing.

Now they have have each been handed our Child of Courage Award as well as being named as our Winner of Winners at the 2018 Pirate FM Local Heroes Awards.

Mum Ruth, and Vinny's partner of 17 years, says they are very special: "My children said to me, actually it was probably the best time of year that he could have died, because when we put our Christmas decorations up on the 1st December we have 31 beautiful days to remember our daddy every single year.

child of courage award winners

The girls held a three-mile fun run at the Eden Project in aid of The British Heart Foundation earlier in the year.

They said: "We thought it would be a lot of fun for children and it would be more happier, so we decided to do the fun run and it was a lot happy, we've made lots of people proud and we've made them smile, that is the main part."

You can donate to their campaign here.

Ruth told Pirate FM: "I spoke to him at twenty to four in the evening and he was going to go to town to get some Christmas presents.

"But 45 minutes later, my eldest daughter, who is ten, called to tell me she was really worried about Daddy."

Ruth added: "The day after, they had their Christmas performance and they had come back a couple of weeks before and said they only had narrators parts - and we said, no, that's the best bit!

"So, the day after he passed away they said they wanted to go church to do their Christmas performance to make their daddy proud.

"So we all went to church and wore one of his jumpers."

Watch their story below...


15 winners were honoured at the glittering ceremony at Tregenna Castle Resort in St Ives on Friday night.

The awards recognise the people who live and breathe community spirit, who overcome personal challenges and show great courage and those who go the extra mile.

Also honoured at the event was a man who managed to save a person and their dog in the height of the storms.

Andrew Hunt saw the pair swept into Mullion harbour when the storms struck.

He managed to throw a line into the huge waves and pull not just the casualty to safety, but his pet as well.

It took several attempts but Andrew didn't give up.

Andrew was presented the Bravery Award for his remarkable rescue, where he managed to save two lives.


Among the other winners, two nurses who worked round-the-clock for three days straight at Treliske when the snow hit Cornwall.

Lou Pickett and Karen Hodgkinson care for sick and premature babies on the neonatal unit at Cornwall's biggest hospital.

The pair slept on the ward, away from their families, to make sure the department's excellent care continued.

They were presented with the Public Services Award...


The Sports Achievement Award went to Abigail Birch.

At thirteen Abigail found sport after being bullied and beaten up at school, all because she has a rare form of dwarfism.

Last year, the teenager became number one in the UK for shot, discus and javelin.

She brought home six medals from The World Dwarf Games in Canada.

British Athletic are keeping a close eye on Abigail.

Not just as a future member of Junior Team GB but also for her potential to reach the Paralympics.

What a way to beat the bullies!


You can watch the stories of all our 2018 winners here.

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