Washington schoolgirl who sold hand-painted rainbows to raise funds for NHS named as finalist in Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons 2021
A seven-year-old Washington schoolgirl has been named as a finalist in the Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2021 after she decided to dedicate her time to helping staff working in the NHS during the pandemic.
Jessica Willey, who sold her own hand-painted rainbows which raised money to surprise 300 staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital with a morale-boosting afternoon tea, has reached the final four of the Coronavirus Hero category in global-hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the ‘Best of British’ heroes.
Jessica will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 5 with the event being hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden with Falklands War hero Simon Weston a guest of honour.
Jessica’s mum Andrea, 38, said her daughter had been worried other people might not be able to draw rainbows that were placed in windows to show appreciation of the NHS during the pandemic, so she placed a box of them at the bottom of their drive and asked for donations.
“I put it on social media and the uptake was fantastic. We ended up sending them all over the country. I’m just blown away by what she does. It all comes from her. She’s rallied everyone around to help her.
Jessica was also able to raise money by selling 100 handmade bookmarks decorated with rainbows and flowers to buy food for 180 people living in two nursing homes – one where her Uncle Stephen is a resident.
The bookmarks were a huge hit and even sold across the pond, going as far as Florida.
Jessica, who is now seven, also made Christmas cards and she and her mum collected toys, clothes and gift sets for the homeless charity Centrepoint to bring young people some Christmas cheer as well as buying packed lunches for staff on the intensive care unit at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Andrea added: “To be honest, she’s no intention of stopping. She’s already set her sights on helping the homeless.”
Her amazing fundraising efforts received recognition from Boris Johnson who awarded her a Point of Light award for her kindness.
Jessica said: “I love helping people. It makes me feel good.”
The winner of the award will be announced on Tuesday October 5.