Eight-year-old Millie Vasey was nominated by her teacher for going above and beyond to help a classmate with Down’s Syndrome.
She learnt Makaton to be able to communicate with them to enable her to help them with their schoolwork and interacting with others on their behalf.
The children were recognised at the inaugural Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards with 600 nominations coming from friends, family and teachers to celebrate the most caring acts among children as young as four.
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Aston Merrygold, a member of pop band JLS, hosted the awards. He said: “I feel very privileged to have been able to host the inaugural Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards and to meet and give some of these very special children their trophies and prizes.
“Hearing their stories has made it feel very special, because all these children have done amazing things of their own accord - they’ve literally gone above and beyond for other people, and it’s all been their own doing.”
Claudia Caron, UK marketing manager, Mattel, said: “It is very special and such an honour for Thomas & Friends to be able to recognise these outstanding acts of friendship by young children from all around the UK.
“The first ever Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Awards have truly shown how incredible and remarkable children are, with hundreds of entries all demonstrating real kindness, putting others first and children going above and beyond for their friends.
“We’re really proud to share the stories of our five winners to celebrate such great acts of friendship.”
Other children celebrated included five-year-old Grace Prior, who befriended a Ukrainian refugee who joined her school by learning to speak words in her native tongue; eight-year-old Corey Clark, who has ADHD and autism, raised money to feed fellow pupils going hungry at his school by embarking on a 10-mile walk, raising nearly a thousand pounds; four-year-old Noah Raine from Birmingham supported his friend Dylan throughout his treatment for Leukaemia and Imogen Mills, from Bridgend, South Wales, who since the age of two has helped her friend Ethan, who has autism and is non-verbal to include him in activities and play with him.