Bede’s student Jake Simmons was recognised for the love. patience and support he shows his two siblings, who both have complex mental and physical needs, with a ‘Best Brother’ accolade at the Child of Sussex Awards earlier this month.
Jake’s younger brother Adam and younger sister Emily have an undiagnosed neurodegenerative condition which includes epilepsy, dystonia, scoliosis, dislocated hips, visual and hearing impairments, and an inability to speak, walk or do anything independently.
While admitting Jake does miss out on some things other boys his age may do, his mother, Kathy, also describes him as a ‘kind natured, happy and very witty boy’ who has a great relationship with his brother and sister.
“He helps them as a matter of course,” she explains. “Cuddles, hugs. He makes them smile, takes the time to show them how to do things.
“ Adam and Emily are extremely complex children and leading a normal life can be very hard at times.
“He did a bike ride to raise money for Chestnut Tree House, the hospice that supports Adam and Emily, which was his idea. He raised £800.”
The 13-year-old, however, doesn’t feel he’s missing out on anything and enjoys a range of hobbies, including sailing, music and science.
He said, “I have a very normal life. I just want to emphasise that.
“It means a lot to me. Although it’s just my normal life, it’s something different.
“People don’t necessarily think about a particular student’s home life, and that’s not to say that anyone has ever been insensitive to me.
“If this award can raise a little awareness though, or just encourage people to think about people who have unusual lives, that would make me really happy.”
Picture: Bede’s pupil Jake Simmons receives his ‘Best Brother’ award at the Child of Sussex awards.