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Family given ‘huge boost in a terrible year’ by Pride awards

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A FAMILY honoured twice at the recent Pride of Jersey Awards have talked about the massive boost they gained from the accolades.

Tim and Angela Hutchings received the Neighbour of the Year award at the annual event, which recognises exceptional contributions to Island life, while their five-year-old son, Jake, was named Child of the Year.

The double success came nine months after the St Saviour family’s darkest hour. In December last year the couple’s six-year-old daughter, Izzy, Jake’s big sister, died following a life-long battle against the rare and deadly Pearson syndrome. Referring to the Pride award, Mrs Hutchings said: ‘It was a huge boost in a really terrible year.

‘So much of 2019 has been about losing Izzy and this is so nice.’

Jake was nominated by the Jersey Children’s Charity for his ‘maturity, empathy, determination and compassion’.

Mr Hutchings added: ‘Jake has had so much to cope with – Angela and Izzy were away for long periods as a result of the treatment Izzy needed, and Jake never resented the time and attention that she needed.

‘It was great recognition for Jake to be nominated, but there were other amazing children who had overcome such challenges – we didn’t expect him to win.’

Jake was initially unmoved when his name was announced as the winner in the ceremony at Le Manoir de Rooster in Trinity, headquarters of potato supplier Albert Bartlett, but only because he was busy colouring. He was soon dancing up to the stage to the tune of ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and high-fiving compere Graeme Le Saux.

The trophy Jake received has already been extensively shown off, starting with his classmates at Plat Douet School the morning after, at a whole-school assembly the following Monday, and then again to his after-school karate class.

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Mr and Mrs Hutchings were nominated for the Neighbour of the Year award by Raluca Kovacs, who lives next-door and has been one of many people to be touched by the Hutchings’ willingness to help.

‘We’d like to think we have really good relations with the people who live close to us,’ said Mrs Hutchings. ‘Tim’s very “handy” and he’s often able to help with things like book cases or washing machines, or other tasks that need doing.’ Mr Hutchings (38) recalled the community spirit that existed when he was growing up in Wellington Park estate, and lamented that this sense of community had become weaker than it used to be.

‘It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or how busy you are – you should be able to find a few minutes to help people who need it,’ he said.

Mrs Hutchings (42) was born in Jersey but lived in Australia between the ages of five and 24. As she pointed out, ‘everybody needs good neighbours’.

The family are now planning a holiday to Florida in 2020, using prize money received from Dandara, sponsor of the Neighbour of the Year award, and the Jersey Development Company, which sponsored the Child of the Year category.

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