Star-studded night for most caring youngster

Ryan Skidmore (13) meets Prince Harry at the eighth annual WellChild Awards, with mum Vikky and sister Lilly Mea, who he looks after.
Ryan Skidmore (13) meets Prince Harry at the eighth annual WellChild Awards, with mum Vikky and sister Lilly Mea, who he looks after.

A BROTHER in a million was plucked from special kids right across the country, to receive a prestigious award.

Thirteen-year old Ryan Skidmore from Bolton-on-Dearne met Prince Harry and a host of other stars and celebrities on Monday night at the 2012 WellChild awards, after winning the category of Most Caring Young Person.

Ryan has helped to look after younger sibling Lilly-Mae at their Billingley View, Bolton home since she was born. Six-year old Lilly suffers from a syndrome which causes low immunity, epilepsy, developmental delay and a string of other health problems that make life very difficult for her.

Ryan was nominated for the honour by family friend Louise Harper of Rotherham, who felt he deserved a special treat for helping with feeding and dressing Lilly, along with cooking, bathing and changing Lilly, and cleaning.

Prince Harry said the ceremony was a “humbling experience” and that he was in awe of the determination, strength and resolve of the winners.

When he met the prince, Ryan wore the Gold Medal won by Olympian shooter Peter Wilson, who was also there that evening.

He received his WellChild Most Caring Child Award from former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis and Made in Chelsea Star Millie McIntosh at the plush ceremony at London. Hosts for the evening were TV presenters Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes.

Other celebrities at the emotional event included Duncan Bannatyne, Mark Foster, Millie Mackintosh, Russell Howard, Scouting For Girls, Chris Hollins, James and Oliver Phelps, Emily Maitliss, Nancy Del’Olio, Bruno Tonioli and Olympic Medallist Kate Walsh.

In her nomination of Ryan, Louise Harper told judges: “Ryan helps his parents to look after Lilly and even gives his mum time in bed to catch up on sleep and brings breakfast in bed.

“Ryan loves his sister so much. He deserves recognition for what he does.”

Judge Linda Partridge, of WellChild, said: “The panel was moved by the bravery of the children. Ryan truly deserves to be the winner.

Lilly is one of only 63 children worldwide with microdeletion syndrome.

She has her own fundraising page to help pay for vital equipment that is not always available on the NHS. Any extra money raised is donated by the family to charities including Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Jeans for Genes.