Josie’s heart is recognised

A  REMARKABLE young lady from Bisley was left overwhelmed when the Junior Citizen’s Award was sprung on her at Sunday’s village Strawberry Fayre.

Josephine Sowry, now 11, has already been through more than most people have to face in a lifetime. Yet she has been a rock to her family. Her father Jeremy explained: “In 2011, I was diagnosed with lung cancer and was due to go to hospital for an operation one Monday that October.

CLOSE FAMILY – proud father Jeremy with Matthew and winner Josie

CLOSE FAMILY – proud father Jeremy with Matthew and winner Josie

However, on the Saturday before, Josie and her little brother Matthew’s mum Helen suddenly collapsed and was taken into intensive care.

Jeremy said: “My eldest son Tim – their half brother, who’s 32 and works out of the area – was given a week off by his work and he took leave to hold the fort at home.”

Helen was in intensive care for two weeks. Jeremy added: “When I came out of hospital after my operation, I was able to go to see her on the Thursday. Sadly she died that night – it was as if she had been waiting for me to say goodbye.

Throughout everything Josie, then only nine, has been a rock to me and Matthew, then seven.”

Left a single dad with two young children, Jeremy said Josie helped him to cope.

He added: “Even when I had to go through chemotherapy, she had such a positive effect.

“She has been remarkably resilient and strong for us all. Josie has been a very brave, happy and caring person throughout.”

Parish Council Clerk, Jill Biden, explained how the Bisley Village Annual Awards came about: “They were the brainchild of former Vice Chairman, Mick Raynor.

“Even though no longer in the role, he has continued to help, be involved and present the awards at the annual fayre.” Now in their third year, Mick added: “I suggested we do our own awards, so now there are the Best Citizen, Best Business and Best Junior Citizen of the Year awards, and they have been very successful.

“But the most deserved one this year was for Josephine’s ‘resilience in the face of adversity’.

“That little girl has been a crutch to her family and, without a doubt, everyone agrees.

“She has been, and continues to be, a tower of strength to her dad and younger  brother.”

When he and Josie’s Headteacher at Bisley Primary, Jo Hastings, handed over the award, Josie said: “I had no idea. I was shocked and scared at the same time but it was really good.

“I was a bit emotional but so was Mrs Hastings (below left).”

Jo, who along with Josie will be leaving the village school this summer, said: “Josie is amazing. She has the character and personality to deal with everything that comes her way.

“All the teachers voted for her unanimously – she is that special.”

The large plaque will hang in the village hall for all to see, while the smaller one Josie keeps for ever.

While she will be moving on to Woking High secondary school in September, Jo, after eight-and-a-half years at Bisley, will be moving on to Ottershaw Infant and Primary.

Citizen of the Year went to Norman Holden, while, Business of the Year went to Bisley Vets Ltd.

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