Hartlepool dad's pride as inspirational daughter brings Christmas to Durham with festive lights switch-on
A brave little girl who has brightened up the lives of other poorly children across the world brought some good cheer to Durham as she helped to switch on the Christmas lights.
Lyla O'Donovan, seven, helped to press that all-important button at County Hall as the city came together for its festive lights switch-on on Monday, December 2.
The youngster was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and has since undergone nine operations and suffered multiple complications with a further operation on the cards for after Christmas
But despite her own struggles, Lyla has continued to amaze her family and the community with her kind heart and constant bravery.
Dad Paul, who is from Hartlepool but now lives at Ushaw Moor, said: “Lyla's positivity has been a source of strength to us all and we want to create as many happy memories as we can.
“Lyla was so excited when we told her she was going to switch the Christmas tree lights on. It's made her feel very special and it means so much to us all."
Little Lyla, who previously set up a group with big sister Lilley to send out certificates to other brave children, was last month recognised by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a Wellchild Award.
It paid tribute to her strength, bravery and generosity in the face of her own struggles.
The schoolgirl is also on the shortlist for a Child of Courage prize at the Mail’s Best of Hartlepool Awards, which are taking place on Wednesday, December 4.
The seven-year-old was joined at the switch-on by dad Paul, mum Kirsty and brothers and sisters Reece, Olivia, Lilley, Harry and Henry.
Chairman of Durham County Council, Councillor Katie Corrigan added: "Lyla is an inspiration to us all. Despite everything she been through, she has kept on smiling and has gone out of her way to help other poorly children.
“We are delighted Lyla has helped us to switch on our festive lights and we would like to wish her and her family a very merry Christmas."