A teenager with autism penned a special letter to say thank you to the grandma that goes the extra mile to care for him.
Nathan Sheers, 19, from Houghton, entered his nana Elizabeth in our Bonmarché competition to win a £100 gift voucher and a VIP shopping experience at the new store in Dalton Park, Murton.
We asked readers to write a letter explaining why they felt their relative or friend deserved to win the contest, with dozens of you putting pen to paper.
After much deliberation, Nathan’s touching note was chosen as the winning entry.
As part of her prize, 75-year-old Elizabeth also got to cut the ribbon when the clothing retailer opened its doors at Dalton Park for the first time yesterday.
Nathan, who attends Select Sunderland College, said he wanted to say thank you to his nana for all the support she gives him and his sister Kate, 18, who is also on the autistic spectrum.
As well as caring for her grandchildren, Elizabeth also helps daughter Kim, 47, who has hypermobility syndrome and relies on a walking stick to get around after a fall which left her needing steel pins in her leg.
Nathan said: “I love my nana very much and I wanted her to feel special.”
In his letter to the Echo, he wrote: “My Nana looks after us all. She cleans the house, makes us nice teas and she takes us out, me and my sister like to go bowling. My nana is always busy and I think the prize would make her happy.
“My nana would get new clothes, then we could go to Wetherspoon’s, we like it there and people could see her new clothes, that would be nice.”
Mum Kim said: “I’m very proud of Nathan. It was his idea to enter the competition and, although I helped him write the letter because he struggles with writing, it was all his own words and ideas.”
Elizabeth, who shares a home with husband Alan, as well as Kim, Kate and Nathan, said: “I think it’s a lovely thing for Nathan to have done. I was very excited and nervous when I found out I had won.
“But it’s wonderful because it’s made me feel really appreciated. Both the children have autism and it’s nice to know that they appreciate what I do for them.”
She added: “I’ve already seen some outfits that have caught my eye and I’m looking forward to wearing them.”