‘Truly wonderful’ Saffron Walden schoolboy nominated for Essex Yopey

A BIG-HEARTED Saffron Walden schoolboy has been nominated for a prestigious youth award for being a “wonderful big brother”.

But Billy Fisher, 13, is more than just an elder brother to five-year-old twins Joshua and Edward – he is a young carer for Josh, who has cerebral palsy, and raises money for the respite centre where the five-year-old attends.

Now the teenager’s efforts are being recognised with a nomination for the Essex Police Young People of the Year awards (Yopeys).

His mum Amanda said: “The way that he looks after Josh and raises money for charity is truly wonderful.

“He had been an only child for eight years when Josh and Edward arrived and at first it was hard for him, especially when we knew that Joshua was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is also deaf. It meant that Josh would take up even more of our attention.

“But Billy has really grown as a person and thinks nothing of helping Josh with his exercises or helping with him and his brother in general.”

Seeing the care that Josh needed inspired Billy to raise funds for local respite centre, PARC Essex, where Josh attends. Based in Great Notley, the centre gives children with disabilities the chance to have fun in a safe environment while allowing their families to have time off from caring.

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The family can have some quality time together doing ordinary activities that would not be possible with Josh, such as swimming and cycling.

In recognition of the centre’s work, Billy wanted to raise money to say ‘thank-you’.

A keen gardener, he raised �200 from growing and selling plants at home and, as a Saffron Walden County High School pupil, he put PARC forward as one of the good causes to benefit from the school’s charities week.

Billy said: “PARC has really helped our family not only with Josh but all of us. Charities week seemed like an ideal way to raise some funds.

“And I was so pleased when I heard that PARC would be receiving a cheque. The money is not just vital to my family but everyone who uses the centre.”

Recognising his efforts both in and out of school, assistant head of year Lindsay Potter said: “Billy’s loving support for his brother is fantastic and I was very pleased for him when his application during charities week was successful.

“He is such a caring individual.”

Billy does not overlook his other brother Edward either - he reads him bedtime stories as a way of spending quality time together.

“Billy is a wonderful big brother to both Josh and Edward and I’m lucky that he will take the time to sit with them,” said their mum.

• To nominate inspirational young people for the Essex YOPEY, which is open to young people aged from 10 to 25, who should live, work or study in Essex, logon to yopey.org or send an SAE for an entry form to YOPEY, PO Box 236, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 1DP. Young people can nominate themselves. Entries close on March 31.