Ruby Scarboro has been recognised in the Child of Sussex Awards for the way she cares for her younger sister who has cerebral palsy.
Ruby, aged 10, a pupil at Battle and Langton School, was nominated by Kitty, aged seven, for the ‘Best Friend’ category.
Dad Simon explained: “Kitty unfortunately has cerebral palsy and cannot walk, has extreme difficulty with speech, she can’t feed herself or use her hands very well but is nevertheless a very intelligent child who just wants to be part of the gang. Ruby always makes sure that Kitty is and looks after her all the time.
“She plays with her continually and never complains about the effect having a disabled sister has had on her life. So Kitty wanted Ruby to be recognised for what a difference she makes to her life and nominated her.”
He added: “Kitty heard about the awards on the radio whilst we were driving to school and let me know she wanted to nominate her sister. We thought best friend would be a good one because although she is a wonderful sister, she really is a best friend - doing everything with Kitty and always going the extra mile to make sure Kitty is included and having a good time. Kitty needs help to play or do anything and Ruby is just there for her all of the time. They play for hours together making up stories, plays, shows and even dances.
“There was a recent ballet that the two of them put on in Kitty’s bedroom. Bearing in mind Kitty cannot walk or even stand on her own, Ruby made up a ballet that they could do together. They rehearsed and put on the show. It was fabulous.
“If we are out and about with Kitty in her wheelchair, Ruby will make sure Kitty can see, choose games that are accessible to Kitty, play in areas that Kitty can get to and make sure other people are aware of her sister’s needs. She takes a huge amount of the weight from my wife and I’s shoulders. And the biggest thing is she never complains about it. She understands that things are slower for us and we have to take time to organise Kitty’s needs, but whilst we are doing these things Ruby is not complaining, in fact more often than not she will make up a game to entertain her sister in the meantime. She really is a wonderful best friend.
Commenting on the awards night at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, Simon said: “With Ruby in her new dress and hairdo and the rest of us in black tie, we had a wonderful dinner. It was a big event with at least 200 people there.
“Ruby realised she had won and was surprised, shocked and delighted. Her name was on the big screen and lots of photo’s of the two of them.”
Ruby said: “It means a lot to me for Kitty to nominate me because it means she really appreciates how much I love her and the things we do together. Winning the award was really great and amazing because I knew there would have been hundreds of applications and I am over the moon to be the one who received the award for Best Friend. Kitty went berserk when she saw my name on the screen which was great. She so wanted me to win and I did.”