TWO sisters have received a prestigious honour for the invaluable support they give their disabled dad.
Bethany and Holly Harrison, of Blakelock Road, in Hartlepool, were presented with a Shrievalty Award during a grand ceremony at Durham Castle yesterday.
The devoted pair became registered carers with Hartlepool Young Carers in April 2013.
They help their mum, Susan, 40, care for their dad Colin, 51, who has type 2 diabetes.
Former security guard, labourer and ex-volunteer coastguard Colin was diagnosed with the diabetes 15 years ago, before his condition deteriorated in recent years.
He lost weight and his eyesight and was registered blind three years ago.
Last Christmas he was taken into hospital to have a gangrenous toe amputated.
The girls got their wish to have their dad home for Christmas Day before he returned to hospital in February when he had to have his leg amputated from the knee.
Colin, who is having physiotherapy, is waiting to have a prosthetic leg fitted at James Cook University Hospital next week.
English Martyrs School student Bethany, 14, and Kingsley Primary School pupil Holly, 11, help around the house by tidying up, making their dad cups of tea, reading to him and taking him to the shops and help their dad with things like finding out prices.
Their parents couldn’t be more proud of the pair, who were nominated for the award by Steve Plant, a family support worker with Hartlepool Young Carers.
Full-time carer Susan said: “I’m so proud, they have had a tough few months and really deserve this award.
“They are so brave.”
Colin said: “The girls have had to make so many sacrifices with me being poorly.
“They used to go dancing and we have had to sacrifice holidays and can’t do a lot as a family.”
Mr Plant, who has nominated town carers for the award for the past four years, said: “It is hard to believe that with all the angst and trauma the family have been subjected to they remain in high spirits and positive.
“They are a true inspiration to us all.
“They are not only fantastic ambassadors for Hartlepool Young Carers, but also for young carers throughout the country.”
The girls were among 32 youngsters from across Teesside and County Durham who received accolades for making a difference.
As well as certificates from the Sheriff, the winners also received gift vouchers from Durham Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Michael Banks.
The event is held in association with Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC), whose executive manager Bryan Russell said: “The young people being honoured have made a difference to their lives and to those of other people in their communities.
“These awards are a testimony to the way in which they have either made a contribution to their community, overcome personal hardship or disability, or displayed courage and bravery.”
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