Award for Lewes teenager who cared for stricken mum

DEVOTED son David Edwards has won a hat-trick of awards in recognition of his work as a carer.

When his mother suffered a life-changing spinal injry, David became her carer at the age of just 13.

He did the shopping, cooked and cleaned in addition to studying at Lewes Old Grammar School.

He received the Child of Sussex Young Carer of the Year award at The Grand Hotel, Brighton.

Two days later he was at the Theatre Royal for The Argus Achievement Awards, which salute the heroes of the local community.

David, now 17, was named Carer of the Year and shared the Carol Barnes Courageous Child award.

Proud mother Many Edwards, 49, said: “He is a selfless, modest and extraordinary young man.”

She permanantly damaged her spinal cord lifting a heavy weight in 2007, was confined to a wheelchair and has undergone a series of operations.

It fell to David to take responsibility for holding things together at their home in Malling Street, Lewes. And he rose to the challenge.

Single parent Mandy, who had to give up work as a teacher, said: “He has been brilliant.”

David, who managed to get six As and two Bs in his GCSE exams, is highlighting the plight of young carers.

He has met Lewes MP Norman Baker and Tom Jeffrey, director-general of children, young people and families at the Department of Education, to raise concerns about threats to funding.

Prime Minister David Cameron has warned councils against cutting funds for young carers, but the Children’s Society said spending on children’s services has gone down this year.

David, who is studying psychology, philosophy and medieval history at Sussex Downs College, is trying to raise awareness in schools.

“Teachers need to be able to identify young carers,” he said. “Things like scruffiness and problem attendance can be signs.”

MP Mr Baker has nominated David to carry the Olympic torch next year and said the teenager’s awards were richly deserved.

“The way her cared for his mother while carrying on with his studies and living a normal life sets a brilliant example for us all,” he said.