A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl from Brightlingsea has made it her mission to help families with seriously ill children by spending her afternoons washing her neighbours’ cars.

Lilly Stead has raised cash for the Sick Children’s Trust to thank the charity for giving her parents a place to stay when her brother Teddy was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in 2017.

Teddy, who is now six, spent two weeks in hospital after suddenly struggling to breathe.

His parents Melissa and Andy Stead rushed him to Colchester Hospital before he was referred to Cambridge.

He spent a week in an induced coma in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and was diagnosed with heart failure, pneumonia and enterovirus.

During this time, Melissa and Andy were supported by the Sick Children’s Trust’s Acorn House.

Lilly was also able to also stay and could see Teddy when he was moved to a ward.

Lilly said: “I wanted to fundraise for the Sick Children’s Trust because when my brother was really ill they gave us a house to stay in because it was too far away.

"We would’ve had to go backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards.

“I enjoyed the car washing, it was fun and I like looking at the shiny cars at the end.

"It makes me feel happy that I can help some other little child. Thank you to everyone for donated.”

Since leaving hospital, Teddy has regular heart scans but has made a full recovery. At the start of September, both Teddy and his sister excitedly returned to school.

Mum Melissa added: “Lilly has always wanted to raise money for charity and we discussed what she could do.

"She decided on car washing and helping the charity that supported us.

"She was six when Teddy was in hospital and remembers him not being at home and the visits to Acorn House.

"Initially she set her target at £20 so she is chuffed to have doubled that."

So far Lilly has raised almost £50 and hopes to raise even more.

Melissa added: "Without The Sick Children’s Trust, we would’ve slept in a chair by his bed, I think that is all we could’ve done.

"We wouldn’t have left him, so having Acorn House really made the situation easier as we had somewhere to sleep which was close by and a place we could eat a meal and shower. It was fantastic.”

Charlotte Coldrey, from the Sick Children’s Trust thanked Lilly for her efforts.

"She is a super supporter and has worked so hard to raise every single penny," she said.