Teenager who beat rare cancer honoured at Mole Valley Youth Awards
A TEENAGER who beat cancer and found comfort in music has won a coveted award at the Mole Valley Youth Awards.
Tom Hazell, 18, picked up the youth arts award at Dorking Halls on Friday, at the annual event which recognises the achievements of the district's young people.
Tom was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in his right foot in 2011, and since going into remission in April last year, has achieved Grade 8 distinction playing the oboe and for his singing.
The schoolboy, who boards at St John's in Leatherhead, is now the head of the choir at the school and is a member of the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain.
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Speaking to the Advertiser, Tom said: "I was really honoured to be respected and to be recognised for my achievements, especially against such competition. I was really chuffed.
"People came up to me in the interval to congratulate me before I had even got my award for how well I had spoken. People said I was inspirational. I was very well received."
He added: "I think the music helped me to distract myself from the awful situation I was in. It was really, really bad.
"I do not think I have ever been so happy in my whole life than when I was told I was going into remission. My parents have been so supportive all the way through. It was a massive relief."
There were seven other winners on the night, with more than 70 nominees for judges to choose from, the highest tally in the award scheme's ten-year history.
Through programme sales and donations on the night, £722 was raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust, the charity which supported Tom through his recovery.
Councillor Chris Townsend, leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: "All the nominees' achievements were impressive and presented the judges with some difficult decisions.
"The event was a true showcase of young talent in Mole Valley. Well done to all those who helped organise such a brilliant evening, in which money was raised for a fantastic cause."
The winners at the Mole Valley Youth Awards on Friday were: Bella Tommey, who won the youth community spirit award; The Year 7 Rigby Team at the Howard of Effingham, who won the youth teamwork award; Rachel Higgins, who picked up the youth sporting award; Danesh Amin, who won the outstanding achievement award; Rory Densham Brown, who picked up the youth professional award; Andy Honey, junior youth voice specialist award; and Natalie Gravett, who won the youth for youth award.