THE mum of a young girl invited by the Mayor of Rotherham to help switch on the town’s Christmas lights said the honour left her daughter beaming.
Dawn Wright’s 12-year-old daughter Emily was chosen by Cllr Eve Rose Keenan to be her special guest at Thursday’s ceremony.
The pair had initially met a year ago and have become firm friends, with Emily, her mum and three-year-old sister Lily having been invited for tea at the Mayor’s Parlour earlier this month.
Dawn said Emily suffered from several conditions, including epilepsy, asthma and extensive white matter on the brain and had difficulty in social situations but the Mayor has helped build her confidence.
“We were in town for the Remembrance Day parade a couple of weeks ago when Emily said hello to the Mayor and she asked if Emily would like to help her turn on the Christmas lights,” she said.
“Since we met Eve, she has taken Emily under her wing and made her feel really special.
“Emily did really well on the night. She has social anxiety but the Mayor’s family made her feel like part of the family and she had a great time.
“She had a smile on her face all night.”
Dawn, of Herringthorpe, said she was “very proud” of Newman School pupil Emily, adding: “I just stayed in the background letting her get on with it.
“I couldn’t believe how well she did because she’s usually not good with crowds.”
Hundreds packed into All Saints’ Square on Thursday night to watch performances by X Factor group Yes Lad, dance music artist Soraya Vivian, Blues Brothers tribute act Bruvvas Blue, Rotherham African Drummers and this year’s Civic Theatre pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.