Courtney Webster has won the hearts of her community – and a rare honour, The Guiding Star Award.
The 10-year-old is thought to be the first in the area to receive the top award from Girlguiding for ‘bravery, courage and determination in the face of a serious medical condition and coping with exceptional circumstances’.
Courtney, a member of the 2nd Gosberton Brownies, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in April last year and, from September, spent nearly three months in America with her mum, Becky, 36, undergoing proton therapy.
The illness didn’t stop the youngster from completing her Brownie fire safety badge and winning some really special friends at Donington Fire Station. Her courage also inspired her Brownie pals to complete a sponsored walk – 26 circuits of an estate in Gosberton – to raise more than £1,000 for children with cancer.
Donington firefighters took one of their fire engines to the award ceremony last Monday when Courtney was presented with a silver star badge and a certificate by Girlguiding’s South Holland Division Commissioner Helen Clark.
Helen said: “As far as I know, this is the only star award that’s ever been given in South Holland so I am very honoured to be able to present Courtney with the star.”
Donington Fire Station watch manager John Scott, and teachers from Courtney’s school, Pinchbeck East, were among those who wrote letters to Girlguiding to recommend that Courtney should receive the award and were at Gosberton Church Hall to see it presented.
John said: “It’s marvellous. I’m over the moon, really happy, it means a lot to her.”
When asked to describe her daughter, Becky summed up Courtney in a single word: “Amazing.”
Family friend Nichola Dunbar believes Courtney and her whole family – Becky, dad Simon, 37, and brother Reece, six, - deserve an award for the way they have coped.
“All of them have always had a smile on their face, as well, the whole time,” she said.
Becky, who is Snowy Owl with the 2nd Gosberton Brownies, said her family are really grateful for all of the support they have had from so many people.
Courtney was first diagnosed with her illness on the day the Brownies visited the fire station – she was unable to go, but completed her badge with the aid of some leaflets and a home-visit from a fire engine and its crew.
2nd Gosberton Brownies leader Louise Austen told Monday’s gathering that the fire engine arrived with the sirens going and lights flashing, leaving the neighbours looking out of the window and wondering what was going on.