Natty Wins Child of Courage or Achievement Award

FINALLY Friday came.

Our house was filled with excited women and one token man, all preening and beautifying each other.
We don't get out of our jeans and wellies nearly often enough, obviously!

Natty and Mia beamed from ear to ear as we washed and straightened hair, painted nails, including a layer of glitter, and gathered dresses, tights, new patent shoes and hair bows together. Their babysitter is a hairdresser and she came in to help and Natty sat stock still while she wielded the scary looking straightening irons through her fine hair. She wanted a touch of lip gloss and a wave of mascara to be like Mummy and Mia too.

We even pinned Daddy Downs Side Up down and plucked his eyebrowns and buffed his nails, and shaved his head. (You all do that to your menfolk before a big night out, right?)

Handbags were found and laid out ready...

Ready for the biggest family night of our lives! For we had all been invited to the Pirate FM Local Heroes Award Ceremony, a glitzy black tie affair, taking place against the beautiful backdrop of the Eden Project. Little Natty had been awarded the Child of Courage or Achievement Award for her modelling, opening of doors for children with disabilities everywhere and gently changing perceptions as she melts hearts wherever she goes.

And yes, there was to be a disco. "With actual DJs who actually work on Pirate FM playing the music we listen to on the radio". (Mia G, 9)

And yes, there was to be "staying up late". (Natty, 6)

And yes, the girls were "coming too". (Natty 6)

...And yes, there "was going to be champagne". (Mummy, 43).

We were dressed and ready to leave in plenty of time. The girls were a cloud of pink and yellow chiffon in the back of the car. As they sat poker still, I joked to Bob that my only stress was keeping them clean until the point that the awards were given out. My biggest nightmare would be a dinner swimming in gravy and a pudding floating in chocolate sauce. I believe pale chiffon is the biggest magnet for dark brown liquid foodstuffs.
"I'm sure they won't serve that..." (Daddy)

Mia and Natty all set to party

On arrival there was a red carpet to float along while photographers took shots from every angle. I bristled with pride as Natty and Mia confidently strode into the room filled with smartly dressed adults, with not another child in sight, apart from the wonderful young woman Megan Rumsey who had won Young Person of the Year for being an incredible sister and voice for those with disabilities.

Mia marvelled at the beautiful gowns, Natty asked everyone "What's your name?"

We sat at the beautifully decorated table, complete with gold bows on the back of the chairs and gold star-shapped ballons, "Just like my shoes!" exclaimed Natty. 
Of course, just for you inspirational girl.

We chatted to our category sponsors, the truly lovely people from Kidzworld who helped set up the event, and began eating. A simple Caprese salad to begin, followed by roast beef and... A SEA OF GRAVY! 

I panicked (thinking of possible big brown stain right down the front of that yellow chiffon) and the lovely waitress brought Natty a dry dinner without the sauce poor mite. Both girls had to be pursuaded by everyone at the table to wear their napkins, so we all ended up doing it to set an example.

Napkin fun

Help, my mother is embarrassing me

Oh and yes, there was chocolate sauce with the brownie for desert!

After dinner the the award ceremony opened with former X Factor star Amelia Lily singing a beautiful trio of songs, the last of which had the most beautiful lyrics that seemed so fitting for Natty. 'You Bring Joy, You Bring Pain'. My facade cracked and I began to cry. Natty took to the stage to meet Amelia and was presented with a signed photo of the singer.

There was some dancing and quite a bit of showing off and bottom wiggling.
That's Natty not Amelia you understand!

We were all emotional before we had even begun.

The awards began and we were all treat to an amazing array of stories that affirmed our belief in community and the human spirit. 
An elderly neighbour who collects prescriptions for those who can't get out. A young woman driven to raise money for eye charities following an eye problem of her own.
A chef who happens to be a supportive and thoughtful boss as well as a culinary genius. 
Parent of the Year, who is a positive force for her children, one of whom has Autism, despite being a single Mum and having her own health issues.
An amazingly brave Emergency service worker, a coastal rescuer, an environmental guardian angel, an encouraging teacher and great paralympic sportswoman and a lady with healing hands.

Natty's award was called. She and Mia took to the stage with neither parent to help them. I wanted both girls to feel an equal part of the celebrations, for Natty is only Natty because her big sister is such an incredible influence on her.

A video clip was played, showing an interview with Natty and I. I don't mind admitting I sobbed like a baby, taking handfuls of the tissues thoughtfully provided on each table.
The clip was funny as well as heartwarming, featuring raspberries, funny faces, more bottom wiggling and a few "You are joking!'s". You can watch it here.


The audience laughed with Natty and she and Mia took the applause well, beaming even wider from ear to ear.
They were presented with a selection of toys from World's Apart (who Natty has modelled for ) and a family pass to Kidzworld. Natty couldn't have been happier as she stood and posed for the journalists centre stage.

We had just enough time to meet a couple of the Heroes before some had to leave.
2 people really stood out for me, Matt Vernon who tried desperately to save the woman whose car slipped off the King Harry Ferry slipway last month. An unassuming man who embodies all that society should be, and Shane Edwards who offers oncology massage and has worked her calming and relaxing magic on over 1000 cancer sufferers many of them terminally ill. A woman who simply radiates love and care.

We were just throwing some shapes on the dancefloor when we realised we were in danger of turning into pumpkins. Natty was flagging and finding the music a little loud, so Mia had to cut her wild routine to Guns and Roses short. It was half past midnight!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the sponsors and Pirate FM and the judges and nominators and fellow heroes and all those who made Friday night possible.

I know 2 little ladies who had, quite simple, the night of their lives.
I leave you with a quote from Natty this weekend:

"I want party again. I want gold shoes and present for me and surprise for me and music and dance, waggy bottom." And that sums it up in a nutshell. 

Happy to have been nominated here:
                                                                NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 INSPIRE


  1. Rock Stars!!! Best wishes and more fun to come, I'm sure.

  2. Awwww what a lovely post, and what beautiful girls your hubby has!

    1. Ah, you are so kind Kylie. We're all lucky x

  3. Two amazingly gorgeous daughters you have there Hayley.

  4. Wow - well Natty certainly stole the show, and shone like a star, with sister Mia on a night for all our local hero stars. We are so glad you enjoyed the night, and that moment with Amelia Lily, had tears in Neil Caddy's eyes he told me today! It was an honour to meet your family and share the night with you. Tina

    1. Thank you Tina. I'm glad Natty worked her magic on the Pirate FM team x

  5. What a lovely heart warming blog : ) I'll definitely be passing it on to my friend who has a gorgeous little girl with Downs.

    1. Thank you. It's important to see how life goes on with a child with DS, only a little bit better :)

  6. Awwww I have tears in my eyes. How very very sweet and warming. And I love the sibling relationship - and that caring shining through. Thank you very much for sharing such a special and proud moment.

  7. They really do adore each other and the award was for both of them, for making other people happy :)

  8. Oh my they look beautiful and deservedly having a wonderful time. Huge congratulations to them and to you on your many BiBs shortlists, so well deserved!

  9. wow what an amazing post and experience no doubt! it looks like you all had such an immense time!

    Honored you have linked up to #magicmoments

    1. Thank you Jaime. I was reading all the finalists posts today. Such an honour to be amongst so many wonderful blogs. Congratulations! x

  10. Ohh how thoroughly exciting, you all look divine. What a superb night for you all to enjoy and remember. Mind you with Natty being such a superstar I think you'll have a few more of those to come....

    Mich x


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