A ‘lovely’ teenager has won an award for an act of kindness he carried out during the school holidays.
Daniel Roberts, 16, of Caergwrle, was upset last summer when he discovered that the community garden shed at his school, Castell Alun High in Hope, Flintshire, had been wrecked by vandals.
After reporting the problem to the school, the budding engineer then spent two days repairing the shed himself, making it stronger than before, so it was back in service for when everyone returned from the summer break.
The teenager’s efforts won him the Young People’s Award at the community awards run by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
Daniel, who enlisted the help of his grandad John Roberts while repairing the shed, admitted he did not expect to end up winning an award.
“I’m a member of the gardening club at school and I was not too happy to see the shed vandalised,” said the Year 11 pupil. “Repairing it took a couple of days. We had to measure it all out, get the materials sorted, then assemble it.
“We replaced the windows and bolted the door on. We made it a lot more structurally sound.”
Daniel has been deaf since birth but was not properly diagnosed until he was five years old, due to the nature of his deafness.
He had no problems hearing low-frequency sounds but could not make out mid-to-low-frequency sounds, which is where you hear consonants in speech.
As an infant he passed all his hearing tests – and problems were not picked up until he was a little older.
Daniel had cochlear implants – electronic devices planted in his inner ear – in January 2008 and his parents say the operation was a ‘game-changer’ for the youngster, enabling him to hear well and lead a normal life.
His dad Barry said: “The implants have been an amazing success. Once they were in, he was able to attend normal schools and did not have to go to deaf schools. He’s had a bit of catching up to do but he’s pulled himself up amazingly well.”
Daniel, who is in the middle of his GCSE exams, has a passion for engineering and is hoping to earn an apprenticeship in this field. He’s already had a couple of interviews and has more lined up.
Dad Barry added: “Once he found engineering, it was like he’d found his calling. He’d become determined, driven. He really enjoys it. He’s got a real passion for it, which is so nice to see. It’s like a light’s been switched on.”
As well as being practically minded, Daniel also has a caring side – which is why he decided to go ahead and fix his school’s vandalised shed last summer. He had been asked to keep an eye on the shed over last year’s summer holidays by Diane Bates, a teaching assistant at the school.
“They were delighted I’d fixed it, but I didn’t expect to win an award,” said Daniel.
Daniel and his grandad John, of Hope, carried out the work of their own free will and at no cost whatsoever to the school.
Daniel’s mum, Elizabeth, said: “He’d thought about it all himself. He’s quite handy, very practical. It’s typical of him really, he’s good lad.”
Of her son’s award win, Elizabeth added: “It was a nice surprise. It was good for him – he deserves it.”
Castell Alun teaching assistant Diane Bates said Daniel is a ‘lovely young man, always helping staff and others in school’.
“Nothing is too much trouble for him,” she added.
Daniel, who has a younger sister, Kirstyn, aged 10, was nominated for the Young People’s Award by PC Debbie Barker, a school liaison officer based at Mold Police Station.
PC Barker said: “Young people Daniel’s age often get a bad press for causing trouble so it has been good to highlight the good work he and his taid have done to restore the garden shed.
“The school uses gardening activities as part of their Welsh Bacc course so it plays an important part in the curriculum and Daniel has made sure it was ready for the pupils when they came back after the summer holidays.”
Daniel was presented with his award at a ceremony staged at the Kinmel Manor Hotel in Abergele.