Young carer Ryan gets a Christmas reward

(front left) Sue Carpenter, cluster, attendance and inclusion officer, with her volunteers (back l-r) Suzanne Cathro from V3 Recruitment, Penny Jones and Juliet Whiting with (front second left and right) Molly Knight and Phil Etherington from V3 Recruitment (as Father Christmas) delivering the food hamper and present to Sue Lawrence and her son Ryan Armstrong (10).''''Picture: Sarah Standing (133617-2684)

(front left) Sue Carpenter, cluster, attendance and inclusion officer, with her volunteers (back l-r) Suzanne Cathro from V3 Recruitment, Penny Jones and Juliet Whiting with (front second left and right) Molly Knight and Phil Etherington from V3 Recruitment (as Father Christmas) delivering the food hamper and present to Sue Lawrence and her son Ryan Armstrong (10).''''Picture: Sarah Standing (133617-2684)

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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IT WAS a special night for ten-year-old Ryan Armstrong when he got a visit from Father Christmas and his elves.

The pupil of Medina Primary School, in Cosham, is a carer for his mum, Sue, who suffers from fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.

And to say thanks for all the work he does, Ryan, from Ashurst Road, Cosham, was given a present and a hamper full of food for Christmas.

The presents and the food were collected by Sue Carpenter. She is a cluster attendance and inclusion officer at four different schools in the north of the city. It was while working at Medina Primary that she heard about Ryan’s situation.

With help from volunteers at V3 Recruitment and other businesses in the city, they managed to get Ryan a television and all the ingredients for a Christmas dinner.

Ryan was speechless when he unwrapped his present and saw it was a television.

Ryan said: ‘I didn’t know what to say when I saw the present.

‘It’s really great.’

As a young carer, Ryan helps his mum with the shopping, cleaning and cooking.

But he enjoys it and doesn’t mind spending his evenings helping out.

He added: ‘I like helping my mum and my favourite thing we do is the shopping.

‘I also like helping her cook and I will be helping her with the Christmas dinner.’

For mum Sue, the presents are well-deserved.

She said: ‘Ryan cares for me and he stays in.

‘He doesn’t really get to go out and play much.

‘He is such a good boy so I suppose they thought he deserved it.

‘It means everything to me to see that sort of generosity because it’s hard when you are on your own and you can’t go out and you struggle.

‘You end up feeling guilty because you want to do these sort of things for him but you can’t.

‘When people come forward like this, it means the world.’

Sue and her volunteers have helped around 40 families who are in similar positions to Ryan and Sue by giving them gifts and food.

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