A NEWPORT teenager who overcame the death of his father to secure top marks in his exams was recognised for his efforts with a Pride of Wales Award.

The awards, sponsored by Nation Radio, were presented at Cardiff's Vale Resort on June 14 and 13-year-old Junior Bowen was named the Child of Courage.

South Wales Argus:

The day after the St Julian's schoolboy's 13th birthday, his biological father passed away.


His mother, Michelle Freke, said: "Junior supported me on the day of the funeral and in the weeks that followed.

"However, after that he began to get depressed and really struggled."

If the bereavement wasn't enough, Mrs Freke said that her son also had to contend with racial abuse.

"He hadn't been going to school for weeks," she said.

"I had worried that his grades might drop.

"It was six to eight weeks before I saw an improvement."

South Wales Argus:

Mrs Freke explained that her son had surprised everyone by battling through to achieve 100 per cent in his English exam and a Level 7 in his science.

"He was getting praise consistently from his teachers, despite all of the time off," she said.

She continued by saying that she had heard about the awards through an advertisement on the radio.

"I wrote to them (Nation Radio) saying how proud I was of him and he won," she said.

"The event at The Vale was lovely. It was nice to dress up, hire tuxedos and gowns.

Mr Bowen said, upon winning the award, the the experience was wonderful but surreal.

South Wales Argus:

"I'm very proud to be Welsh," he said.

"So to be the Pride of Wales is amazing."