Published: Mon 20th November, 2023
An inspirational youngster has been chosen to ‘Light up Loughborough’ and switch on the town’s Christmas lights in front of thousands of people.
Amellia Baker, from Sileby, has been named the winner of the Light up Loughborough competition run by Charnwood Borough Council which organises the festive event on Sunday, November 26.
The 11-year-old stood out to judges for the time she sacrifices to help her mum Vicky Wilson and dad Russ Baker, look after her nine-year-old sister, Imogen who has Angelman Syndrome.
The rare neuro-genetic disorder causes developmental problems and leads to a child having learning difficulties, an abnormal sleep pattern and means they can be non-verbal.
Amellia helps her parents look after Imogen, meaning she often misses out on school clubs, activities and social events with friends.
The great news was broken to Amellia by the Mayor of Charnwood, Cllr Margaret Smidowicz and Cllr Jennifer Tillotson at a surprise assembly at her school, Wreake Valley Academy, on Friday November 17.
Amellia said: “I was really surprised to find out that I am turning on the Christmas lights as I didn’t even know my mum had entered me into the competition.
“I can’t wait for Sunday, it will be a lot of fun to go up on stage and turn the lights on in front of all those people.”
Mum Vicky, entered Amellia for being ‘a kind, caring, loving, young lady who never complains and is always happy to help with Imogen’.
Vicky said: “Amellia is a very loving and caring, young lady. She often misses out on some social activities but never complains.
“When I was sent the link to nominate Amellia, I felt this would be something that will show her how proud we are of her and appreciate everything she does and sacrifices to help me. All young carers are superstars!”
Cllr Jennifer Tillotson, the Council’s lead member for economic development, regeneration and town centres was part of the judging panel and who attended the surprise assembly, said: “As always, it is a pleasure to read so many of the entries into the Light Up Loughborough competition and it was a tough choice once again.
“Amellia stood out to us because of the work she puts into looking after her sister and the time which she sacrifices to help her parents.
“We were so inspired by her story and felt like she deserved a day of festive joy and happiness and hopefully this will lead to Amellia having a memory which will last a very long time.
“I would like to thank everyone that entered this year’s competition and I look forward to seeing everyone and Amellia at the Christmas lights switch-on.”
Mayor of Charnwood said: “It was an honour to be on the judging panel and to read so many stories about children across Charnwood.
“Amellia’s story stood out for all the work she does and the way she goes above and beyond for her sister.”
The Light up Loughborough winner has also received a family ticket to this year’s pantomime, Peter Pan, at Loughborough Town Hall and a £50 Love Loughborough voucher.
The Christmas lights will be switched on in Loughborough on Sunday, November 26 in a day of festive fun in the town.
Market Place will host a wide range of stalls, food and drink stands and fairground rides from 11am and then from 12pm, a host of talented performers will be appearing on the main stage to entertain the crowds.
The lights will then be switched on at 5pm by Amellia.
This year’s stage will be operated by local radio station Fosse 107 with thanks to headline sponsor Loughborough Kia.
You can find out more about Angelman Syndrome on their website.