Aston Merrygold hands out awards at the inaugural ‘Friendship Awards’

The gong event is officially titled ‘Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards’.

To mark International Friendship Day on Saturday 30th July 2022, global toy company Mattel over the weekend proudly announced the winners of the inaugural ‘Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards™’.

Aston Merrygold:

“I feel very privileged to have been able to host the inaugural Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards and to meet and give some of these very special children their trophies. Hearing their stories today has made it feel very special, because all these children have done amazing things of their own accord – they’ve literally gone above and beyond for other people, and it’s all been their own doing.”

From hundreds of entrants across the UK, five young winners aged between 4 and 8 years old were selected by a judging panel and each presented with their award by musician and celebrity Dad, Aston Merrygold at a special awards ceremony in London.

Each winner has shown an outstanding example of friendship, which has demonstrated putting others first, kindness, and going above and beyond to help a friend.

The winners are:

  • Noah aged 4 from Dudley, West Midlands. Noah has been best friends with Dylan since they were babies, born two days apart. Dylan was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was very little, and ever since Noah has been by his side. Throughout lockdown Noah would visit Dylan and draw on the windows to bring a smile to his face, and now they play together every day. Noah is by Dylan’s side as he receives treatment.

 

  • Imogen aged 6 from Bridgend, South Wales. Imogen met her friend Ethan when they were both 2 at playgroup. Ethan has Autism and is non-verbal, yet even at such a young age of 2, Imogen would always try her best to include Ethan in playgroup activities and play with him. Imogen was clearly very special to Ethan and the first time he ever interacted with another child was when he went up and hugged Imogen. Now both age 6, Imogen and Ethan are still great friends. Imogen will play with Ethan and does the things he enjoys, making sure he feels included. People often comment on their great friendship. Imogen always makes sure places are safe for Ethan and looks out for him.
  • Grace aged 5 from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. When a Ukrainian refugee family recently moved to Grace’s small town, Grace quickly made friends with a 5-year-old Ukrainian girl called Amelia who started in her school. Grace quickly made Amelia feel so welcome, became her friend, and Grace has even learnt some Ukrainian to be able to talk to Amelia and make her feel at home.

 

  • Millie aged 8 from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Millie was nominated by her teacher as she observed a very special friendship and bond between Millie and one of her classmates who has Down Syndrome. Millie went above and beyond to help her friend, learning Makaton to be able to communicate with them. She always shows so much kindness, patience and is very caring towards her friend, from helping with schoolwork to interacting with others on their behalf when it is helpful. Her teacher described Millie’s friendship with them as selfless, and that Millie is a very special and remarkable girl who recognises the challenges that her friend faces and wants to help respectfully in any way that she can.
  • Corey aged 8 from Stourport, Worcestershire. When Corey noticed that children in his school were going hungry as parents couldn’t always afford food, he decided to fundraise for the local community food bank by doing a 10-mile sponsored walk. Corey raised an amazing £920 which was used to help the community centre get food to people in need.

Claudia Caron, UK Marketing Manager, Mattel UK:

“It is very special and such an honour for the Thomas & Friends brand to be able to recognise these outstanding acts of friendship by young children from all around the UK. The first ever Thomas & Friends™ International Friendship Day Awards have truly shown how incredible and remarkable children are, with hundreds of entries all demonstrating real kindness, putting others first and children going above and beyond for their friends. We’re really proud to share the stories of our five winners to celebrate such great acts of friendship.”

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