Teenager battles illness to be named surf hero of year
A 15-year-old girl who overcame heart surgery to compete in the semi-finals of a surfing competition has been named Surf Hero of the Year at a national awards ceremony.
Charlotte Banfield (pictured), from Penryn in Cornwall, was presented with the award sponsored by The Wave Project and UK Pro Surf.
The teenager, who also has a diagnosis of autism, underwent surgery last November to treat her weak heart and earlier this year she received further cardiac treatment.
However, her determination helped her to regain her fitness and reach the semi-final of a national surf competition in July. She underwent further surgery on her legs in September, but once again bounced back and was back in the water last month.
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Wave Project chief executive Joe Taylor, who was on the selection panel, said: "Charlotte is a real inspiration to other young people who have to overcome difficulties and setbacks to achieve things they want to do. It was a very strong field of nominees for this award, but the panel felt her courage and determination make her a deserved winner of the title Surf Hero of the Year."
Helen and Joel Blackman, from Croyde in Devon, jointly won the Surf Volunteer of the Year award for their work with young people, while the Surf Instructor of the Year prize was awarded to Harry Bennett of Bigbury Surf School in Devon for all his work with disadvantaged young people.