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Brave youngsters chosen to light up Accrington this Christmas

Both have battled medical problems.

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Brave: Jamie Shield

Two brave youngsters who have battled medical problems will light up the town when they switch on Accrington's Christmas lights.

Jamie Shield and Charlie Humphries were chosen after they were entered into a competition to play the high-profile role run by Hyndburn Council and the Accringon Observer.

Originally the judges were looking to pick only one person, but picked both Jamie and Charlie after being moved the story of their battle against illness.

Jamie, who is one of only 43 people in the world to be diagnosed with the genetic disorder Cardio-Facio-Cutaneous Syndrome (CSC), was nominated by pupils and staff at St Anne's and St Joseph's primary school in Accrington.

The nine-year-old, of Griffin Close, Huncoat, has also suffered from rare tumours called pheochromocytoma which develops on the adrenal glands.

Charlie Humphries, who attends White Ash school in Oswaldtwistle, was nominated by his mum Zoe Bennett.

Delighted: Charlie Humphries

 

He has cerebral palsy and was born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 7oz and spent nine weeks on a ventilator.

Charlie, aged eight, is partially sighted and was recently told he wouldn't be able to walk.

Both youngsters have been chosen by the Observer and Hyndburn Council to switch-on the Christmas lights in front of the Town Hall on Thursday, November 28 at 7.30pm.

Mum Rachel Shields said it is the 'icing on the cake' for Jamie after a difficult year.

Jamie, who has been off school since the start of the year, has received numerous operations from Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

His CSC has also led to chest, heart, eyesight and growth hormone problems.

She said: “He's been through such a traumatic time this year. He's battled health problems for nearly 10 years and this year in particular has beenvery difficult.

“It was great to give him positive news and it's absolutely fantastic for him to be chosen.

“It's about creating new memories as the seizures were so severe he lost his long-term memories he doesn't remember past Christmas'. It's a major deal for him.”

Mrs Bennett, 28, who lives with her son in Hapton, said she is 'over the moon' for Charlie to be chosen for the Christmas lights switch-on.

She said: “Despite dealing with all of this he is the happiest, most cheerful boy I know.

“We are so proud of him and when we told him he just started smiling and laughing“He's been through a lot with his appointments, X-rays and scans and he has physio three or four times a week.

“I honestly didn't think he would get chosen as there are so many special children out there. We are so pleased he's been picked.”