HERO: Peter Millar receiving his Great Sporting Achievement award from Peter Johnson, left, chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC, and actor Andrew Lancell

FORMER Coronation Street ‘bad guy’ Frank Foster (aka Andrew Lancel) came face to face with some real cool good guys – and was left almost speechless after hearing their inspirational stories.

Andrew was presenting the first Wirral Youth Heroes awards at a gala dinner at Thornton Hall Hotel, Wirral.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to lots of award nights,” he said, “but this is something very, very special.

“The judges have selected nine young people to receive the awards, but all the 24 nominees are winners. Every one of them has an incredible story to tell – real-life stories that are truly inspirational and deeply moving.”

The awards were organised by Christian charity Youth for Christ (YFC) in response to last summer’s nationwide riots.

Martin Dickson from YFC, said: “We are deeply passionate about seeing young people reach their full potential. Young peope can change the world – it’s all about encouraging and supporting them.

“We set up the awards inspire other young people to do something special for their community.

“The judges’ decision to choose Josh Rotherham as the overall winner epitomised this and I think they made a great choice.

“Josh was a young person at risk and was heavily involved with gangs but with the support of those around him he escaped the gang culture and now supports young people with disabilities, self-esteem issues and low confidence.

Roll of Honour

Great Sporting Achievement: Peter Millar. Tennis-mad Peter, 19, won two gold medals for GB in the Special Olympics at Shanghai – and has been National Champion (singles and doubles) since 2005. He has aslo qualified as one of the first people in the country with learning difficulties to be an assistant tennis coach.

Overcoming Illness/Disability: Christopher Gavin. Aged six, Gavin, 17, was diagnosed with a large brain tumour which needed extensive life threatening surgery. Radiotherapy followed, but the tumour remained. Christopher is a hero because despite being bullied, he is now involved in sports coaching for younger children.

Young Carer: Karl Thompson. Karl, 16, has autism, learning difficulties, epilepsy, and visually impaired. Coping with his own disabilities is tough, but Carl also help his older brother, David, who has even more severe disabilities.

Inspirational Volunteer: Josh Rotherham. Josh, 19, is a volunteer with the Wirral Youth Theatre, supporting young people with disabilities.

Outstanding Educational Achievement: Erin Nolan. Despite a year of extreme difficulty Erin has been an outstanding pupil and was nominated by her teachers for the AXA ambition awards. She is a hero because she shows others what can be achieved with great determination.

Contribution to the Arts: Rob Muir. Rob, 19, is a young break-dancer who set up the ‘Contembreak’ dance company which uses dance to teach young lads big life lessons. They have since worked with Young Offenders in Thorncross Prison and with young people with special educational needs, physical and confidence issues.

Courage & Bravery: Georgia Price. Georgia, 16, helped her mum and a group of children who were being attacked by a man near her home last year.

Enterprise: Benjamin Caveen. Ben, 17, uses what he is learning in school to make a massive difference to local charities. Since September he has raised over £6,000 using a variety of enterprise ventures. He is now mentoring and training others young lads to run the own fundraising ventures.

Community Action: Hannah Brown. Hannah, 16, is a hero to the members of the St Mary’s MENCAP group.