Young carer nominated for award

ONE brave Suffolk youngster has spent much of her childhood helping her mum nurse her dad - and now she is up for an award.

Lizzie Parry

ONE brave Suffolk youngster has spent much of her childhood helping her mum nurse her dad - and now she is up for an award.

Eleven-year-old Maxine du Plessis, of Stanstead, near Sudbury, had to grow up overnight when the family learned her father Jean-Paul, 45, had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

With her whole family thrown into turmoil Maxine, who was eight at the time, stepped in to help her mum Caroline.

Making drinks, helping around the home and taking her dad his medication are just some of the jobs she helps with on a daily basis.

With Mr du Plessis's mobility restricted, the lounge of the family home in Alton Road is now his bedroom, and each night Maxine is on hand to make her dad's bed just how he likes it.

Most Read

But the brave youngster takes it all in her stride.

She said: “Looking after my dad is normal to me and I help when I can.

“I also watch out for my brother David who is six which isn't that bad. We both know that dad needs lots of rest to help make him better again.”

And for her heroic efforts, Mrs du Plessis has nominated her daughter for a Suffolk Police Young People of the Year award (YOPEY) and she is now in the running for a slice of the �4,000 cash prize.

Mrs du Plessis said: “She is very grown-up for someone her age. She has shown tremendous courage and strength through the last three years.

“Her dad has good days and bad, but Maxine is always on hand to support him and cheer him up.

“She takes chores in her stride and never moans about having to look after her younger brother.

“I wanted to nominate my daughter because I feel that she has done so much for the family and deserve something in return.”

During the day Maxine attends Stoke College in Stoke by Clare, but as soon as she arrives home she is always keen to help. Her enthusiasm and willingness to help makes her a shining example.

And no-one could be more proud of her than her father.

Mr du Plessis, who can spend up to 15 weeks a year in hospital, said: “I'm so lucky to have a wonderful daughter like Maxine. She has been an asset throughout the ups and downs.”

YOPEY is designed to counter the negative image of the younger generations, recognising those young people making a real difference in the world.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Maxine is an outstanding young girl who has shown tremendous courage during the last three years. Caroline and Jean-Paul should be very proud of their daughter.”

To nominate log on to or write to Young People of the Year, PO Box 103, Hare Street, Ware, SG9 0XD, enclosing an SAE for an entry form.