James was a regular member at Gap from 2011 to 2013 and in that time, he made a great many friends and shared so many happy times. In 2012 he was crowned Prom King at our very first LGBT Prom, alongside our Prom Queen and his best friend Jasmine. He moved on to university, but stayed in touch and we always looked forward to his annual ‘passing visit’ at our Gap birthday parties.
He had been enjoying university life to the full and was on an amazing Geology field trip, when a tragic accident took him from us, far too soon.
To honour James’ memory, we launched the James Manto Awards to celebrate the achievements of a Gap member who has grown in confidence in their time attending Gap or found their vocation or passion.
Staff made the nominations and we announced the first winner on Friday 25th May - the closest Gap session to James' birthday.
James' mum Fiona and his best friend Jasmine joined us for the first ever award ceremony which went to our deserving Gap member - Kasper. This is what our lead youth worker Nicki had to say about why she nominated Kasper:
"When Kasper first attended Gap over 3 years ago, he was a shy person. But soon he grow into this amazing confident young man.
Kasper is always on hand to offer support, a kind word or a hug to any Gapette. He will go over to any new member and give a welcome hello and tell them a little about Gap. He is always someone I can ask to help out if I see a newbie struggling with nerves or shyness. Over the last few weeks he has shown his artistic talent with our film project, going above and beyond expectations with coming along to Proud Parents and filming there for us.
This summer Kasper is leaving for university, I will miss his happy smiling face, his kind words and him calling me “mumma gay”! But I am so proud of the person he is and wish him all the luck at uni, not that he needs it, well maybe with his cooking!"