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Argus Achievement Award looks at those who have gone above and beyond
Mark Brady describes himself as a teaching assistant.
But the Varndean School staff member is so much more than that – just ask Trudi Walshe.
For the last five years Mr Brady has mentored and cared for Trudi’s autistic son Benz.
He gets in early to meet the youngster at the school gates – whatever the weather.
He helps him through his morning lessons and then gives up his lunch time to assist him in the school canteen.
This doesn’t happen just every now and then – but every day for the last five years.
Benz suffers from a variety of conditions including high-functioning autism, Asperger syndrome, sensory integration disorder and severer hypoacusis.
As a result he struggles greatly with social situations.
But with Mr Brady’s guidance and care he has developed his social skills and now has a small group of friends.
At the end of the day he accompanies Benz down the school drive where he will report back to his mum.
She said: “Mark has been more than a teaching assistant tomyson. He has been a mentor over the years. He has constantly given 110% of his attention from the minute he started at Varndean School.
“Most importantly he has been a companion to Benz, helping him make each day as stress free and enjoyable as possible.”
The last couple of years have seen Benz take his GCSEs – and once again Mr Brady has given up his free time after school to help out.
As a result, he has secured a place at college to which Mr Brady has now arranged transition visits to get him settled.
Ms Walshe added: “Thanks to Mark, Benz is going to become very successful in his college life, university life and work life.
“He has helped my son achieve a massive amount over the five years that he has attended Varndean School. Mark deserves to be recognised and rewarded for his work.”
LAST YEAR'S WINNER
Charles Boughton-Leigh has left a legacy for generations to come.
The 2012 winner was a life-long campaigner for the elderly and disabled across Sussex.
As well as caring for his twin Down’s Syndrome boys he found time to create and run the Ferring Country Centre near Worthing.
As if that wasn’t enough he also chaired Worthing Mencap and for 12 years served as chief officer of Age Concern West Sussex and Age Concern South East.
He was also a co-founder of Don’t Cut Us Out, which continues to campaign against the cuts made by West Sussex County Council to benefits packages offered to elderly and disabled people.
He was truly deserving of our recognition last year. And it wasn’t just us – he was also handed an MBE for his work.
He sadly died shortly after receiving his MBE but his work lives on.
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