A MUM who helps young patients at the Sick Kids hospital express their artistic talents has been shortlisted for a top award.
Laura Young was selected from thousands of nominations for the Tesco Mum of the Year Award 2014 thanks to her work running the charity Teapot Trust.
The 45-year-old, originally from Sheffield, moved to Scotland in 2002 and now lives in Gullane with her family.
She was left devastated in 2009 when her daughter Verity lost her battle with cancer at the age of just eight after spending most of her short life in hospital.
Verity was a keen artist, which inspired her mum to set up the Teapot Trust. The charity now offers regular drop-in art sessions at the Sick Kids.
“There was a lot of anxiety around hospital appointments,” Laura recalled. “So we had an art student meet us at the hospital to distract Verity from her worries.”
Laura, who has two other daughters – Nina, 13, and seven-year-old Isla, was nominated by her former babysitter Lucy Coull, who later undertook a student placement with the Teapot Trust.
The charity has proved a huge success with patients, particularly those with serious anxiety problems.
Laura said: “A lot of victims of bullying are also victims of long-term chronic illness. These sessions allow them to speak the unspeakable through art. The charity offers help in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Kinross and Laura is hoping to expand to help children in other areas of Scotland.
“We’re particularly looking at Oban, Inverness and Aberdeen. There are more isolated communities where a one-hour appointment can mean the child misses the entire day at school.”
She insisted she could not have brought the charity on so far without the help of her friends and family.
“I’m incredibly touched,” Laura said. “But I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my husband – he should be dad of the year.
“The local church also did a production in support of the Teapot Trust, with raffle prizes and donations.”
If Laura wins the contest, she will enjoy a full makeover before a photoshoot for Tesco Living Magazine, and then attend a red carpet ceremony in London next March, when she will receive her award for all her hard work and dedication to the Trust.
And if she comes out on top, it will be the second successive year the title has come to the Lothians.
Last year, the national parenting award went to Ann Maxwell, from Eskbank, who founded the Musselburgh-based Muir Maxwell Trust, which raises funds for children’s epilepsy.
The Tesco Mum of the Year contest can be followed online at www.tesco.com/living and on Twitter at @TescoLiving.