Syston super mum scoops mum in a million competition

A SYSTON super mum who has looked after loved ones dealing with cancer despite her own battle with the disease has scooped the top prize in our Mother’s Day competition.

Carillon Court Shopping Centre teamed up with the Loughborough Echo to find a Mum in a Million and caring mum-of-two, grandmother-of-nine and great grandmother-of-three Avril Smith is the winner.

Avril, 68, who was nominated for the award by her daughter Donna Musk, won a stack of prizes from retailers at the busy Loughborough shopping centre including a bouquet of flowers from The Flower Company, a Thomas Sabo Bracelet from Tylers Department Store, a £20 Gift Voucher from Moda, a Fiorelli Necklace from H Samuel, a make-over and skincare consultation at The Body Shop, a No7 Hamper from Boots, a Thorntons chocolate plaque and a £10 make-up voucher from Tooleys.

Baljit Kooner, Carillon Court Manager, said: “We had a lot of lovely mothers put forward for our competition and it was very difficult to choose a winner but I think we have found a very worthy Mum in a Million in Avril.

“The selfless way in which she supports her family really inspired the judges and it has been wonderful to have the chance to be able to treat her with some terrific prizes donated by the generous businesses at Carillon Court.”

Avril, who volunteers twice a week for the MIND charity shop with her partner Ron,  said: “Donna rang to say she was coming round to tell me something which I would be happy about.

“She said she wouldn’t tell me over the phone so I was standing there for 50 minutes, doing the ironing, wondering what an earth it was.

“When she told me I had won the competition, I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. It was such a wonderful surprise and she is a very good and thoughtful girl for even nominating me.”

Donna nominated her mum because of the way she puts her family first despite being diagnosed two years ago with cancer for the second time.

Donna, 44, a mum-of-eight, also from Syston, said: “My mum is a very bubbly and kind person who is always there if you need her, no matter how she is feeling herself. She is the best and bravest mum to have.

“I lost my best friend Claire, who I grew up with and was a mum herself to two boys, last March to cancer when she was aged only 41 which was absolutely devastating.

“But my mum was there to help support me and even went to sit with Claire when she was having her chemo treatment.

“She also helped her partner Ron look after his daughter Dru, who was the same age as Claire when she died from cancer in November last year just months later.

“It has been such a difficult time and I don’t know how I would have got through it without my Mum who is also having to deal with having the disease herself.”

Avril had a mastectomy to beat breast cancer eight years ago but the cancer returned in her neck and doctors have been unable to operate to remove it.

She has since had chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment and is continuing to beat the disease.

Avril said: “I always remember somebody telling me that you are not dying with cancer, you are living with it and it has always stuck in my mind and it is the way I choose to deal with it.

“Winning this competition has been a much needed boost for my family and a very happy surprise for us all.”