To mark International Friendship Day on Saturday 30 July, Mattel hosted the inaugural Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards.
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 (4) from Dudley, West Midlands, who has been been 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.
Imogen (6) from Bridgend, South Wales, who met her friend Ethan when they were both two 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.
Grace (5) from Peterborough, who quickly made friends with a 5 year old Ukrainian girl called Amelia who started at her school after her family moved to Grace’s town. 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 (8) from Milton Keynes, who was nominated by her teacher as she observed a 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.
Corey (8) from Stourport, Worcestershire, who 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, raising £920 which was used to help the community centre get food to people in need.
“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,” commented Claudia Caron, UK marketing manager at Mattel 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.”
Aston Merrygold added: “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.”