Princess Diana Legacy Award for Weston-super-Mare boy, 11, who suffered years of bullying facial scars
PUBLISHED: 07:01 05 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 05 June 2017
Young Weston-super-Mare boy Nicholas Nikiforou was bullied for years and wants to spend his life helping others after being presented an award by Prince William and Prince Harry.
Nicholas Nikiforou, aged 11, of Atlantic Road South, is one of 20 children chosen to receive a Diana Legacy Award.
He was given the award for his anti-bullying campaigning and efforts to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Nicholas was born with a congenital melanocystic nevus, a collection of moles on his face.
It affects one in 500,000 people and is is often called a facial disfigurement, but Nicholas disagrees with the term and is encouraging young people to embrace their differences rather than labelling them as a negative.
The birthmark was removed at Great Ormond Street, but the procedure left Nicholas with scars which made him the target of bullies for four years.
His mum, Melanie Andrews, said: “It really affected him, he was so anxious. I asked him what the worst bit of school was and he said it was dinner times because the bullies were in the lunch hall, so he would be terrified to even eat.”
At one point Nicholas told his mum he wished he had never been born, something she says was one of the most horrific moments of her life.
But, in year four, Nicholas moved to Locking Primary School where he has since thrived, and even become an anti-bullying ambassador.
He said: “I remember the first time I had a school dinner there, it was a really big day for me.”
Nicholas has received anti-bullying training through the Diana Award, which taught him how to spot the signs of bullying and how to help.
He said: “The training is amazing – they teach you about cyber-bullying and so many different ways to stand up to bullies.”
Melanie added: “You hear some really sad stories as part of the scheme, about young people who feel they can’t escape, young people who wanted to take their own lives.
“If Nicholas can help just one person, that will be enough.”
Nicholas said finding out he had won a Diana Award was ‘the best moment of his life’, and added: “The princes were amazing when I met them. It was such a privilege to meet them.
“They were so nice, laughing and joking with me.”