BY BEN HENDERSON
Henry McFarland was recently asked to write about his hero – but he didn’t pick the obvious candidates: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa.
When the 10-year-old was asked to pick someone close to home who embodies the characteristics of another moral colossus, Mary Seacole, Henry didn’t need to think too hard – he picked his twin brother, Hector, who has epilepsy.
He wrote: “I have chosen my brother because, even though he has epilepsy he will always carry on.
He is always honest and speaks the truth even when he did something wrong.
Even though he is held down by the world, he still keeps carrying on, even when he has just come out of the hospital he will still be smiling and carries on.
“He is always busy and helpful. When our co-op gets together to clean the communal garden he is always helping and is usually the last one out. My brother has had a lot of bad things happen to him but he doesn’t let that stop him.”
His words have helped Henry become the Mary Seacole Trust’s first young ambassador – they helped him win a competition to fill the role.
He was presented with the prize by multi-award winning TV and radio presenter Leah Charles King at a House of Lords ceremony.
Henry added in his essay: “I know my brother is original because he never wears the clothes I normally wear, he loves to stand out in a crowd and will always think differently to other people. That is why I think he reminds me of Mary Seacole.
He loves to play football with me – he is really good at it. ”
Henry was one of 75 children who entered the competition.
They were asked to create a piece of work representing someone in their own life who embodies Ms Seacole’s qualities of compassion, good citizenship and achievement.
They did this through stories, poems and drawings. The competition was open primarily to schools in Lambeth and Southwark, but is likely to be rolled out more widely next year.
Mary Seacole Trust (MST) education committee chairwoman, Roxanne St Clair, explained: “This is the first year we have run this competition so we were delighted to attract entries of such an extremely high standard.
“It shows there are many heroes out there who are inspiring today’s children.
They are our future leaders and it is heart-warming that they are able to identify the characteristics of good role models so early on in life.” MST chairman Trevor Sterling said: “Mary Seacole overcame many obstacles to reach her goals in terms of caring for the men fighting in the Crimea.
These children identified a wide range of people who share Mary’s qualities, ranging from their mums, dads and brothers to Princess Diana, Martin Luther King and Michelle Obama.
“Henry has recognised those qualities in his brother and I am sure he will make a wonderful Young Seacole Ambassador.”
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