Gainsborough: Jessica is presented with an award for her fundraising for charity Shine in memory of her best friend, Emma

Jessica Hodge

Jessica Hodge

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A Gainsborough youngster has been awarded a prestigious award by the national Charity Shine, which supports the families of people born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalous.

Jessica Hodge received the award for Shine Young Fundraiser 2014 at a glittering annual award ceremony held in Peterborough where the charity is based.

When Jessica’s best friend Emma McDonnell, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalous, passed away in February, at the age of 21-years-old, she wanted to do something special in memory of Emma while raising funds for the charity that had supported Emma and her family while she was growing up.

As Emma loved butterflies, Jessica came up with the idea to create and make unique gifts based around butterfly designs including key rings, trinket boxes and a special Christmas range.

Patrons of Shine, actor David Proud, who previously appeared in EastEnders, and former professional footballer for Manchester City and England, Danny Mills, were at the award ceremony to congratulate Jessica on her achievement, which she attended with her proud mum Yvonne and Emma’s sister Catherine.

To date Jessica has raised more than £1,700 for Emma’s Shining Star Fund which will be used by the charity to support and offer valuable information to other families whose children have been born with the conditions.

Jessica also hoped raise further funds with a charity stall at the Gainsborough Christmas Market where she sold her handmade gifts.

She was also awarded with the Best Dressed Stall by a local councillor.

Jessica’s items can also be ordered on her Facebook page, Emma’s Butterflies for SHINE.

Emma’s family said they are delighted and proud of what Jessica has achieved in Emma’s memory and they saud Jess is inspirational and truly deserves recognition for all her hard work.

Shine was formerly known as the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and is a charity with a rich history, encompassing the unique struggles and achievements of people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, and the professionals, families and carers who have strived to make a difference. When Shine was first formed, as a national organisation, it was to support and co-ordinate the activities of around 70 local associations for spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

Shine’s vision is to be a society that meets the needs, values the contribution and celebrates the lives of people living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.