A 14-year-old carer from the Isle of Wight is living her dream at a dance school in Leicestershire, after raising funds to take her place – and her family couldn’t be prouder.
Earlier this year, Amélie Jones was offered a coveted place at Kings International Ballet Academy, prompting her family to ask for help to get her there.
Now term 2022/2023 is underway and she is among those following the course – having been able to fill one of only five full-time places in her age group.
Just over £5,000 was raised, thanks to what Amelie’s family called “such kind and generous donations”, both on their GoFundMe page and from a host of charities.
Amélie has also raised her own funds – walking dogs, making and selling buntings.
Amelie’s mother, Sarah, told the Isle of Wight County Press: “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated.
“We took a very excited Amelie to her new home in Nuneaton, Leicestershire earlier this month, where she spent the weekend getting to know her parents and four other new Kings pupils.
“She settled in very quickly and is already forming strong bonds with friends.
“The first day I got texts from her saying, ‘This is amazing!!!!’ and ‘Thank you so much for letting me come here’.”
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Sarah says the family are “happy and relieved” for the caring and fiercely motivated Amélie, who was a young carer for her father.
Tom Jones suffered from FND (Functional Neurological Disorder), which meant he had seizures, stroke-like episodes, paralysis, loss of speech and permanent chronic fatigue and often spent time on the couch. ‘hospital.
When he could no longer work, Amélie’s mother, Sarah, had to considerably reduce her working hours to take care of him.
Three years ago, an undiagnosed heart condition called Wolf Parkinsons White was found to be the cause and Tom underwent surgery, which helped his physical health improve. However, the years of illness had a lasting impact.
Kings co-artistic directors Cheryl Lloyd and Tania Matos said they admired Amelie’s “courage and determination”, calling her a “lovely little dancer”.
Among Amelie’s supporters were the Newport Grammar School Charity, the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust, the rotating clubs of Shanklin, Sandown, Ventnor and Ryde and Young Carers Isle of Wight.
Isle of Wight ferry company Wightlink is also sponsoring Amelie’s trip for two years.
Wightlink Managing Director Keith Greenfield said: “Amelie is an exceptionally talented ballet dancer.
“We look forward to following his progress.”
Mum, Sarah Jones, said: “We are confident that Amélie will thrive and thrive on the exceptional, world-class ballet training at Kings International Ballet Academy, in such a nurturing environment amongst other people. sharing the same ideas.
“She was trained by Joel Morris from the Joel Morris Dance Academy in Shanklin where he lit her spark for ballet as soon as she met him; allowing her to believe in herself, creating such an encouraging and positive environment for his students. He is an extraordinary teacher, we are very grateful to him.
“We couldn’t be prouder.”