A Saint Benedict student who was once told he would never walk or talk is celebrating after winning an award.

Noah Gash scooped the Inspirational Young Person Award at the Derby Youth Awards run by Derby City Council.

The award recognises a young person who has overcome a great barrier, or has shown great courage, becoming an inspirational role model to other young people within their community, or the city.

Noah was seriously ill from birth and spent a significant amount of time in hospital, where he was told he wouldn’t be able to walk or talk.

Now he attends mainstream school at Saint Benedict, is a sports leader and has completed his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. He also volunteers on local litter picks due to his passion for the environment.

The 15-year-old said he was thrilled to win the award which was presented to him at a ceremony at Rolls-Royce Pavilion in Derby.

He said: “I found out I’d been nominated when my mum called me into the kitchen. I actually thought I was going to get into trouble but she told me I’d been nominated by school for an award. I felt so proud when I won, it was amazing. My mum and dad were really proud of me. I was really, really proud of myself.”

Noah’s mum Jo said he thoroughly deserved the award after everything he’d been through.

She said: “When Noah was born he had to be resuscitated and although we took him home, two weeks later he was diagnosed with suspected meningitis and was in hospital again. We came home after that and then he started vomiting and losing weight, this continued for a couple of months. He ended up spending four months in hospital because he was failing to thrive but they couldn’t find out what was wrong no matter what tests they did.

“One consultant told us he would never walk or talk and he was also diagnosed with dyspraxia. He saw a geneticist at Nottingham City Hospital and we found out that he had two chromosomal abnormalities.

“He would stop breathing in the night every so often and he needed specialist food and medication. He had physiotherapy and occupational therapy, he had splints and would fall over all of the time but we decided we would treat Noah just like our other children. He couldn’t talk for a long time and we used to sign with him. He went to a mainstream primary school and he has a real ‘can do’ attitude and wants the same things as everyone else does for their future.

“When it came to secondary school we looked at special schools but he did much better than expected in his SATs at primary school so came to Saint Benedict. He always takes part in the 1,200 metres at sports day and never loses. Noah’s sister Molly says that he is her hero.

“He was really excited when he won the award; he was just so happy and he was the most grateful recipient.”

Noah has a passion for the environment which comes from dad, Mark, who is an ecologist, and wants to inspire children across Saint Benedict.

The teenager, who is studying for his GCSEs, said: “I do assemblies and litter picks. We made bird feeders from plastic bottles and we have planted trees. I would like two students in each form to be able to plant a tree on school grounds, all the way from Year 7 to Year 13.”

Mrs Boyce said: “We are so proud of Noah for receiving this award. He is an inspirational pupil and contributes daily to the life of Saint Benedict Academy in all he does. I am confident Noah will go on to receive more awards and recognition for the work he does at other points in his education and life.”