Double award success for Wigan schoolgirl who makes a difference
A caring schoolgirl has been recognised twice in just a few days for her efforts to help others.
Seven-year-old Erica Parkinson is a young carer for her sister Evana, a keen charity fund-raiser and enjoys making a difference in her community.
And her commitment has seen her honoured twice recently by separate organisations.
Erica, who lives in Ince, enjoys taking part in pageants and was a competitor in Miss Wigan and Northwest Beauty.
She won the overall title for her age section, being crowned Junior Miss Wigan Northwest Beauty 2021/2022, along with the overall charity award.
She raised a total of £1,603.96 for Wigan and Leigh Hospice with events including bake sales, fun runs, bingo and photo competitions.
Her proud mum Kayleigh Parkinson said: “She wasn’t expecting to win, she was really shocked. She was so happy because she has worked for two years for it.”
It came just days after Erica was named as April’s Dacia Community Hero of the Month, recognising her efforts at home as well as in the community.
This included donating to food banks and animal shelters, organising litter picks and handing out sweets to her neighbours to lift their spirits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The award – created by Betfred Super League – means Erica will be heading to Newcastle in September for Magic Weekend.
Steve McCormack, head of welfare at Rugby League Cares, said: “Well done Erica and keep making a difference to so many lives. Everybody in our game is extremely proud of all the work you are doing in your community.”
Kayleigh said: “I’m really proud of her. She is only seven and is a young carer. She comes up with everything herself and we just tweak her ideas a bit, because they are a bit extravagant sometimes.
“She climbed Snowdon just after she turned seven. She has got a few more events coming.”
Erica is now being planning a cinema day at Platt Bridge Community Centre in July, where two films will be shown on a big screen and refreshments will be served.
It is not the first time Erica has been recognised for her commitment to helping other people.
Last year she was hailed as a “community hero”by bus operator Stagecoach, which asked people to nominate those making a difference as the firm celebrated its 40th anniversary.
And the Pride of Britain Awards tweeted: “Erica is a young carer for her sister Evana who has a rare chromosome condition. During lockdown she has made sweet cones to cheer her neighbours up, donated chocolate to her doctors surgery and given food parcels to the NHS. What a fab big sister!”
The Britannia Bridge Primary School pupil received a Blue Peter badge two years ago, after writing a letter about how she cares for her sister and rises money for good causes in the area.
She has been fund-raising since the age of two, with the support of her family.
She is particularly keen to support the hospice and Blessings In Disguise, which has supported Evana and the rest of their family.
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