TROWBRIDGE youngster JJ Smith is determined not to let the painful illness he suffers from stop him enjoying life and helping others.

Now the youngster, who enjoys karate and boxing, has received a Lifetime Award from Crohn’s & Colitis UK, in recognition of his amazing work for the charity.

JJ, 10, received the Alex Demain Lifetime Awareness Award 2020 for his efforts in raising money and awareness The youngster, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2017, has already collected £1,000. During lockdown he has completed 26 online karate lessons with different instructors and raised a further £300.

JJ has done everything from stalls at local fetes to taking part in sponsored ‘spar-athons’ between martial arts clubs, including dressing up as a poo in the town canrival.

JJ said: “I love fundraising for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, it makes me feel happy to think my fundraising might help people like me.

“Being the winner of the Lifetime Awareness Award is an amazing achievement and I am really excited to have won it.

“It was a fantastic night and I was proud to be among the award winners.”

One of these online instructors, Matthew Hyndman, who is the head coach for World Kickboxing and Karate, has even invited JJ to be part of the England team.

Proud mum Kayleigh Eaton said that JJ has also been training and doing online lessons with 12-year-old triple world Harley Cottis, and that the pair have formed a friendship.

JJ’s mum said: “He won for his passion and dedication to fundraising. They sent the award in the post and did a zoom awards ceremony, so all the children had their awards.

“He was over the moon, it meant the world to him and he has big plans to do more for Crohn’s & Colitis.”

JJ currently trains with Wiltshire Shotokan Karate Club (formerly known as Kime Karate Club) but is due to begin training with WUK at the end of the month.

The Alex Demain Young Fundraiser of the Year Award shines a light on the works of Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s fundraisers while also honouring the memory of Alex Demain, who worked with the charity.

Claire Walsh, director of income generation at Crohn’s & Colitis UK said: “It takes guts to live with these conditions, and that’s why it is amazing that young people like JJ are helping to raise awareness and vital funds to help the charity improve services so that those affected by the conditions can achieve a better quality of life.

“Our ultimate goal is to find a cure, so we also fund research. Wonderful supporters like JJ help us move closer to these goals.

“We are all incredibly proud of JJ and his achievements and are delighted that he has won this award in recognition of his outstanding efforts.”