A brave man with Down’s syndrome who bakes cakes for good causes has won Northern Ireland’s “Bafta” for young people.
Ryan Bogues, 21, from Ballynahinch in Co Down, has been making treats which he leaves in an honesty box – Ryan’s Cookie Box – outside his home. He has raised thousands of pounds for charities and was recognised recently in a youth awards ceremony in Newry.
Squishy brownies, Malteser buns, Ryan’s long and winding rocky road and his grandmother’s favourite lemon drizzle cake come wrapped in seasonal decorations. He has built a long list of followers on social media and derailed a few diets.
His mother, Hazel Bogues, said: “It is about Ryan, it is about more than that, it is about demonstrating that these kids can do something wonderful and that they bring something wonderful.
“There is not an ounce of badness in him, he is very pure, he has such a strong moral compass that he would put the rest of us to shame.
“He gets and understands each and every charity that we look after.
“It is about showing that these youngsters can do wonderful things. They are wonderful people that make people feel better, it is quite remarkable.”
Mr Bogues has mobility difficulties due to a problem with his leg.
Every day he produces baked goods with the help of his family and deposits them in the honesty box outside his home in the rural drumlins of Co Down. In return well-wishers leave money and notes of encouragement.
To make up for pain suffered during recent surgeries his parents built him a garden house where he displays many of the tokens of support.
Mr Bogues has been collecting money since primary school, pennies which went to Catholic aid charity Trocaire, as well as hundreds of pounds for charities which tackle homelessness and help cancer patients.
He recently won the Youth and Future Talent Awards, which are run by Newry and Mourne Youth Council, jokingly dubbed Northern Ireland’s Baftas by Mr Bogues’s family.
They have been created and organised by young people, for young people. The awards night in Newry included diverse and gifted musicians and singers.
His mother said: “The achievements of the young people who had been nominated for the various categories would put a song in your heart and give great optimism for the future.”
Mr Bogues’s two main charities are Marie Curie cancer care and international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
A close family member died of cancer recently and he also wants to recognise international medical efforts in wartorn or impoverished regions.
The inspirational pastry chef has also raised money to help address the Syrian refugee crisis. He earned more than £500 last month to tackle homelessness.
The family uses Facebook to raise awareness and help provide accountability for the money.
His social media following includes supporters from France and the Czech Republic.