Thomas and Charlie Bell
St Neots Town Council is delighted to announce that this year’s Christmas lights are to be switched on by a special pair of local brothers. Highly commended at the 2017 St Neots Awards, Thomas and Charlie Bell will be getting the town well and truly ready for Christmas on Sunday 26th November.
At the end of September, the St Neots Awards recognised a number of local individuals and community groups for their impact and achievements. We’re set to follow them over the comings months, to find out more about them and to see how things have evolved for them since their awards recognition.
First up, we share more about Thomas and Charlie – two brothers who were finalists for The Mayor’s Award 2017. The category was devised to recognise people within the town who have overcome adversity or faced up with courage to life’s hardships and challenges. The brothers received their nomination as they are young carers for their Mum, Sarah. Dealing with both physical and emotional difficulties, Sarah has undergone numerous surgeries due to chronic Crohn’s disease, which has left her with extreme fatigue and needing daily medication. She additionally suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, meaning she is in a lot of pain all the time.
As young carers; the boys take on numerous roles not many children their age have to experience, helping regularly around the house with activities such as cooking and cleaning. Discussing the support the boys provide, Sarah Bell said: “The boys are a big help to me with the general day to day chores they undertake, alongside helping to care for me which at the ages of 10 and 11 is a big responsibility to them. I can’t thank them enough for all their help and support, I owe them a lot more than most.”
As young carers, Thomas and Charlie have also helped raise awareness of young carers in the region, by supporting Carers Trust Cambridgeshire. The boys have helped out on information stands at events collecting donations and have assisted the charity with identifying hidden carers in the community. Closer to home in the St Neots community, the boys have also spoken publicly at school assemblies about their experiences in being young carers.
Speaking about Thomas and Charlie, Maegan Smith, Young Carers Support Co-Ordinator from Carers Trust Cambridgeshire said “It is an absolute pleasure to have the boys engage with our young carers project. They are a delight to work with and always eagerly engage with everything we offer them. They are an absolute credit to their parents. The boys never complain about their caring role and only see it in a positive light. They show so much commitment and enthusiasm throughout their caring roles to ensure their Mum is always as comfortable as possible. The award they were highly commended for earlier this year, truly recognises the hard work they do and they couldn’t deserve it more.”
As model residents in the local community, the boys were so excited to be asked to have the honour of turning the Christmas lights on. According to mum Sarah “They think they are celebrities now! We feel that this is a small reward for all their hard work helping me and hope it encourages more children to help their parents and raise awareness for young carers in St Neots and other areas.”
The St Neots Christmas lights will be switched on at 5PM Sunday 26th November. The event looks to be as popular as ever with festive fun and entertainment guaranteed for all the family from 12PM. Live music and performances, street entertainers, Santa’s grotto, Christmas Market, hot food, funfair and more! Find out more information about the Christmas lights switch on Facebook @stneotschristmaslights