Brian Wins Nairac Award


Young Carer Brian Kobani is among the winners of The Nairac Youth Awards, announced this week.

The awards are normally presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire during the St. George’s Day Service organised by the Gloucestershire Branch of The Royal Society of St. George.

But coronavirus restrictions meant this year’s Service had to be cancelled and the winners have been announced and have received their award for their chosen charity.

Brian kindly donated his award to Gloucestershire Young Carers.

Usually only two Awards are made, but the Branch committee was so impressed by four of the nominees that they decided to give each of them an Award. 

BRIAN KOBANI, 19 years old of Gloucester, was referred to Gloucestershire Young Carers in 2019 as a young adult carer for his 14 year old twin brothers (one has a learning disability) and his 18 year old brother who has autism. Brian’s mother had recently passed away leaving him as the main carer for the family and he was managing the household, children’s schooling and finances while also taking his A Levels and working 16 hours a week.  Brian says that his mother taught him “kindness, discipline and integrity”.

Brian would like to study Biomedical Science, his ambition being to find a cure for cancer.  He has already received an unconditional offer for Cardiff University and a conditional offer for Imperial.  Brian attends Young Adult Carers events when he can and has made friends, developed a social life away from his caring role at home and built up his confidence ready for University through working one to one with the Young Adult Carers Development Worker.

Brian also works with Gloucestershire Young Carers’ fundraiser to promote their work, raise awareness and share his story.  Brian does all he can to help Gloucestershire Young Carers and build his skills and confidence, including appearing on the local radio.

HEATHER KENT from Fairford is only 11 years old but has been campaigning against litter for four years.  It began in 2018 when Heather decided that instead of giving up chocolate for Lent she would collect a bag of litter in her home town every day during Lent. Since then she has arranged local picks and joined other litter pickers in Cirencester, Weston Super Mare and The Wirral to help tidy their towns too. She has spoken to local Brownies and Cubs about her litter picking and encouraged them to litter pick.  Speaking with other children has given her challenges – not every child shares her passion for the environment. 

Heather donated her Award money to Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue, which cares for sick and injured wildlife with the aim of returning them to the wild.

ETHAN NASH is a Year 13 Student at Chosen Hill School, Churchdown.  The School set up a project in 2016 to help Thanthwe Primary School in rural Malawi build two new classrooms as, at the time, they only had four classrooms for a school population of 649 pupils. Ethan supported the project on a voluntary basis for over 14 months as part of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and then continued to support the project for 2 months longer than the minimum time required to pass the Volunteering Section of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Ethan gave up numerous weekends and days during school holidays to help the project team raise funds, which stood at just over £6000 when he joined and had reached over £8000 by the time he finished.  He raised money by washing cars, doing gardening and odd jobs for friends, family and neighbours.  He helped organise and lead cake sales, football tournaments, a sponsored walk, whole year group assemblies (arriving in school early to set up and to rehearse) and recruited and mentored new Year 7 students as they joined the project. 

Ethan has donated his Award money to the Thanthwe Primary School Project.

JAKE WALKER is a corporal with B Company Army Cadets who received an award for outstanding first aid when he saved his friend’s life while in France in a swimming pool. 

Jake has a history of helping and raising money for charitable events including:

After reading ‘Broken by War’ by Anthony Lock, about a soldier injured in Afghanistan, he organised a walk from Gloucester to Weston-Super-Mare (65 miles nonstop) to raise money for SSAFA (the Armed Forces Charity).  Jake completed the walk in 23 hours, raising over £6000.

In August 2019 he raised money for a memorial stone to be made and laid at a military remembrance garden for Pte Daniel Wade, one of the Warrior Six killed in Afghanistan.  

He represented SSAFA at the Remembrance Rugby Match in November 2019 and spoke to thousands of people on the importance of our veterans and soldiers. 

At the time of his nomination for this Award by Cirencester College, Jake was planning a homeless veteran’s talk in July to gain sponsors for his Christmas event, when he will spend 17 days/nights living on the streets to raise awareness and money for homeless veterans. 

Jake donated his Award cheque to The Not Forgotten Charity, which for 100 years has supported the serving wounded and veterans with disabilities. 

Mrs. Pat Ayres, M.B.E., Gloucestershire Branch Chair, says: “Once again we are delighted to recognise exceptional Gloucestershire youngsters through the Annual Nairac Awards.  That we felt we should give four Awards this year, instead of the usual two, reflects how many wonderful young people there are in this county.  The youngsters receiving the 2020 Awards are inspirational and set excellent examples through their achievements.”