WITH her flowing blonde locks and angelic smile, it’s no wonder Lilly Mae Skidmore has been named the new face of Sheffield.
But behind the six-year-old’s happy grin lies remarkable courage – the youngster lives with a medical condition so rare it affects just one in every 16,000 people.
Lilly, of Bolton-on-Dearne, was born with 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome – otherwise known as Koolen Syndrome – which causes serious health problems including hypermobility, low immune system, epilepsy, asthma and other respiratory problems, brain damage, scarring to the brain, heart problems and autism.
Parents Vikky, aged 34, and James, 42, entered her in Venture Photography’s Little Face of Sheffield competition,
And the youngster beat off stiff competition from cute kids across the city to be crowned winner of the public vote.
The Skidmore family held a special party for nine other children living with Koolen Syndrome from across the world at their home on Billingley View.
Parents and children came from as far afield as France and Denmark to meet others facing a similar plight.
James said: “When Venture called to tell me that Lilly Mae had won, I was bowled over.
“Obviously, as her family, we know Lilly Mae has the look, but to receive so many votes and to win this title is amazing.
“We all had a lot of fun at the photoshoot and when we saw the shots of Lilly Mae we just had to enter the shot into the competition.”
Lilly Mae was presented with her winning image in a handmade frame, plus a £50 voucher for Toys R Us.
Colin McCrory, of Venture Photography, based on Chesterfield Road, Woodseats, said: “Lilly Mae was a worthy winner whose personality shone through in her image.”
Lilly Mae and 34 other regional winners now go through to a national final with the winner announced on November 26.