A teenage student has won a national carers award for looking after her mum – and is the youngest to receive the award this year.
Ely King, 16, has played a key role in caring for her mum all her life, helping her through a battle with breast cancer and various other ailments, including osteoarthritis, allowing her stepdad to keep working.
The town teenager attended an awards ceremony in London with her mum, Donna, where she was named as one of six winners of the LloydsPharmacy National Carers Awards 2015, organised by LloydsPharmacy and Carers UK.
Ely was nominated by her mum for sacrificing much of her typical teenage life always to be there when she needed help.
While most teenagers are out with friends, Ely helps around the house, cooks dinner and cleans, on top of studying and supporting her mum.
After missing a lot of education due to staying at home to care for Donna, Ely has completed her GCSEs and is going on to study media at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
“It’s lovely to be awarded for something that I’ve done for as long as I can remember, without ever thinking of it as a chore.”Ely King
She’s then hoping to go to university and have a career working behind the camera.
“It was a complete surprise to hear that I’d won,” said Ely.
“It’s lovely to be rewarded for something that I’ve done for as long as I can remember, without ever thinking of it as a chore. Everyone would be there for their mum if they needed to be.
“I’m really pleased that this will create more publicity around young carers and the great job they do,” Ely added.
Cormac Tobin, managing director of LloydsPharmacy, said: “I congratulate Ely on winning a Lloyds Pharmacy Carers Award, Her selfless dedication to caring for her mum is humbling.
“We want to continue to raise awareness of, and pay tribute to, the millions of unpaid carers across the UK who are making such a positive difference to their loved ones’ lives,” he continued.
“We’d love to be able to thank every single one.”
Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Caring will touch each and every one of us at some point in our lives, whether we begin caring for a loved one or whether we need care ourselves.
“The realities of caring for a loved one can be challenging. We hear every day from carers who are facing emotional, physical and financial difficulties but we also hear about how rewarding caring for a family member or friend can be.
“These awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the unseen support that carers up and down the country provide. Every nomination showcased the huge reserves of strength, commitment and, above all, love that carers possess. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to this year’s award winners.”
Ely visited the House of Commons and met Alistair Burt, Minister of State for Community and Social Care, ahead of the awards gala.
She also received a trophy and £1,000 in high street vouchers plus a one-night stay at a luxury hotel in London and train travel.
The winners were chosen by a panel of five judges, including Baroness Jill Pitkeathley OBE, vice president of Carers UK, and Rachel Carr from the Department of Health.