ALEXANDER Ryder has had to deal with the kind of heartache which could break anyone - let alone a ten-year-old boy.

But to see him go to school each day, clutching his homework, with a beaming smile on his face, nobody would ever suspect the tragic story behind much of his young life.

Alex, who won an award at The Northern Echo's Positive Young People ceremony on Wednesday night, coped superbly with his late mother's courageous two-year battle with leukaemia.

Helen Atkinson, a teacher at St Teresa's RC Primary School, in Darlington, nominated Alex for the accolade after being amazed by his bravery in supporting his mother, Kathleen.

She said: "Unless you knew the emotional rollercoaster he had travelled, you would never know from the way he conducted himself at school.

"He took part in everything he could after school and enjoyed going home, or to the hospital, to tell his mam.

"I attended the funeral and continue to admire the way that this ten-year-old continues to deal with the worst situation any child could face."

* The Odeon Cinema, in Darlington, kindly donated tickets to be raffled at the Positive Young People event.

The winning tickets are: green 120, green 33, green 9 blue 46, blue 37. The winners will be able to see any film of their choice for a family of four. They can claim their cinema tickets by contacting The Northern Echo's promotions department on (01325) 505277.