‘Coronavirus Hero’ Jessica, 7, in the running for a national award
A seven year-old Washington schoolgirl, whose kindness during lockdown was recognised by the Prime Minister, has reached the last 10 of the Brave Britons 2021 awards in the Coronavirus Hero category.
In 2020 Jessica Willey raised over £250 for NHS staff by selling her beautiful drawings of rainbows which helped to buy over 200 packed lunches.
She then sold enough homemade bookmarks to pay for the lunches of over 180 staff and residents at care homes in Washington, Houghton and Castletown.
Over Christmas 2020 she raised around £500 to buy Christmas gifts for at least 32 children aged from babies to 17-year-olds in care of the Centre Point charity for the homeless.
She has already received a Commonwealth Point of Light award for her fundraising work and now she is in the running in the Amplifon Awards, a national event sponsored by the specialist hearing aid company.
Jessica reached the Coronavirus Hero selection stage out of 300 overall nominations chosen by the public.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been in touch with the youngster, sending her a letter and a certificate when she received her Point of Light award, as well as a Christmas card.
Jessica attends St Joseph’s RC Primary in Washington and lives in Barmston with parents Andrea, a civil servant and Chris, a production manager, as well as little sisters Lucy and Emily who are two year-old twins.
A delighted Andrea said: “I’m absolutely so proud of her. She’s thought of all these things herself. During lockdown she did three fundraisers. She raised hundreds and hundreds of pounds and bought homeless children in Sunderland a Christmas present.
“She wasn’t sure Santa would be able to get round everyone, what with covid. She’s so determined and for someone so little to do all these things, she’s blown us away.
“Regardless of whether she wins it, I’m just astounded. She’s such a lovely little girl.”
The family now hope that Jessica will be one of four finalists to be selected in each category at the Amplifon Awards.
The eventual winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 5 where the prizes will be handed over by Falklands hero Simon Weston at the Army and Navy Club in London.