A mum has paid tribute to her ‘guardian angel’ daughter who has looked after her since she was just six years old.
Carer Paiton Harrison, from Accrington, has been a carer for mum Saira Bhatti since 2006 and helped her through a host of serious illnesses including colitis, stable angina, asthma, pleurisy, back problems and ovarian cancer.
The high-flying Accrington Academy pupil, who is now 15, continues to care for her mum by helping her wash and get dressed, make her meals, do the housework and prepare her medication.
Paiton has now been recognised for her selfless work and dedication with the Pride of Accrington Lions Young Carer Award.
Saira said: “I’m just so very proud of her. She really is my guardian angel and a true superstar. She is a very humble person.
"Very few people know that she is a young carer. Even some of her teachers didn’t know this.”
On top of her caring duties, Paiton volunteers at school, helps out at Accrington Stanley, is doing the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and is even taking some of her GCSE exams a year early.
Saira added: “For her to be coping with all of that is incredible. It’s hard enough for an adult when you don’t get paid or recognised for it.
"Her words to me are always ‘I don’t mind mum, if I don’t do it nobody will and you’re my mum.”
Former Hyndburn council worker Saira has also praised the support of Accrington Academy and Paiton’s former primary school Peel Park for their support.
Paiton, who was recently diagnosed herself with asthma, hayfever and eczema, said she feels a ‘big responsibility’.
She said: “Being a young carer from such a young age was quite difficult because of all the things I had to do for my mum without any help.
"But because I had to look after her so often, I quickly became used to it and I guess I didn’t really know any different.
"The reward I get out of it is seeing my mum comfortable and not suffering alone. She always tells me how grateful and proud she is of me.
"I enjoy spending quality time together. I love my mum more than anything and naturally want to care for her so to win an award for being a Young Carer was amazing and I’m very grateful.”
Paiton took part in a sponsored ‘Walk a Mile in a Carer’s Shoes’ event in Burnley last Saturday and has now raised more than £240 for Carers Link.