A 17-year-old boy who died after he sneezed six times in succession and suffered a massive brain haemorrhage has been honoured by the charity that supports his beloved brother.
Liam Andrews, from Stockton, died suddenly last June. The Middlesbrough College student was in a critical condition for four days but brain surgeons were unable to save him.
At his funeral, his family asked for donations to the Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome (ECCDS) – a Newton Aycliffe and Hexham-based charity that helps Liam’s 12-year-old brother Elliott Scott, who has Down's syndrome.
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The collection raised more than £500 and, last week, the charity paid tribute to Liam by presenting a series of prizes in his honour at its annual World Down Syndrome Awareness Day celebration.
Suzanne Andrews, Liam’s mother, presented the Liam Andrews Awards during the emotional ceremony at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.
Ms Andrews, 35, said: “I felt very proud to present the awards. Elliott attends the ECCDS Saturday morning session and Liam supported the charity by taking part in many fundraising events.
“He and Elliott were very close and he was very protective of his little brother.”
To honour the bond that existed between the brothers, Elliott was awarded the school age pupil of the year prize, while Liam’s grandmother, Pat Andrews, was crowned volunteer of the year.
Four-year-old William Mulholland was named pre-school pupil of year.
Liam, who has four other siblings, Amy, 17, Erin, nine, Lewis, three, and Evie, one, attended Egglescliffe Comprehensive School and was studying art and photography at Middlesbrough College.
It is very rare for a young and healthy person to suffer a brain haemorrhage as a result of sneezing.
However, a post-mortem confirmed Liam had no underlying medical conditions.
Maggie Hart, founder and head of education and training at ECCDS, said: “These awards will ensure Liam always remains a part of the charity.
"It has been a very emotional year but tonight is all about honouring Liam’s memory and celebrating the achievements of our children.”
Launched in 2005, ECCDS equips children with Down's syndrome and their parents with essential skills to help them meet the future with confidence.
During the ceremony youngsters performed a variety of musical numbers and guests were updated on a successful year of fundraising, which saw parents and supporters raise £37,000 and the NSPCC donate £97,000.
For more information about the charity visit eccds.org.uk