A five-year-old girl who raised more than £44,000 to help her best friend walk has been hailed a regional hero.
Casey Burke, from Flitwick, began her impressive fundraising effort for Matilda Duncan, who she met at school.
Both girls have cerebral palsy and are unable to walk. However, Matilda was eligible for a revolutionary operation which let her walk unaided.
Despite not being suitable for the procedure herself, Casey threw herself into raising the money to help Matilda’s family pay for the Great Ormond Street treatment.
In recognition of her determination to help her best buddy, Casey has been named East of England Family Hero by Take A Break magazine.
Matilda, 5, said: “I nominated Casey because I want the world to see how lovely my best friend is.”
Casey began fundraising by using social media to ask people to donate £1. The word spread and soon she had raised a staggering £44,184.
After the glittering award ceremony in London, her mother, Suzanne Heath, said Casey told her friends she was the winner, and showed them her prize of a mini-voice recorder.
She said: “Casey is a humble, selfless child. She feels that what she has done, and continued to do for others is only what everyone does.”
She added: “Casey has carried her prize proudly everywhere since.”