Two South Tyneside youngsters have received an extra-special gift this Christmas after winning the Gazette’s Dear Santa competition.
Madison Warnes, 12, is our lucky winner after she wrote a touching letter telling us of her daily health struggles with arthritis and diabetes.
The brave little girl from Coston Drive, South Shields, won a £100 Love2Shop voucher and a scooter, kindly donated by Override Indoor Skatepark, based at Shaftesbury Avene in South Shields.
The competition called on our young readers to write and tell us why they deserved an extra special gift from Santa.
In her touching letter she said: “I have been a very poorly person for some time. I have arthritis, which causes me to deal with a lot of pain.
“I also have diabetes, so I do millions of needles!
“I try to stay positive, but it gets hard.”
Her grandad Ron Stonehouse, said the a year seven pupil at Harton Technology College would be delighted with the prize.
“Madison has had it really bad,” he said.
“She has rheumatoid arthritis and Tyne 1 diabetes and has had to learn to inject herself with insulin and carb count.
“Madison also lost her mum Donna at a young age as a result of an asthma attack. “She was just 34 and Madison was just four years old. “Madison always thinks about her, but she has done marvellously well despite everything.
“It is marvellous that she has won.”
This year’s runner up was 15-year-old Kieron Miller, from Inverness Road in Jarrow.
The teen us how lost everything following a house fire last year and his courage despite the odds made him a worthy winner.
He won a £50 voucher for Love2Shop and four Sunderland V Liverpool match tickets.
In his moving letter he said: “I didn’t have a Christmas last year due to a house fire, me and my mum being in temporary accommodation until we got a new home.
“It was hard for my mam as we had nothing after the fire and had to start again.
“I’m a good lad, keep out of trouble, go to school and work hard.”
The Whitburn Church of England Academy pupil said he was pleased to win the prize.
He said: “We didn’t have a Christmas last year and had to start from scratch, so I am really pleased to win as I wasn’t expecting it.”