LITTLE Havens Children’s Hospice has appointed its first ever head girl in recognition of her kindness despite battling a debilitating condition.

Laurel Parker, 17, from Rayleigh, was diagnosed with Neimann Pick Disease Type C in May 2005 and has been cared for by Little Havens since 2006.

Her condition leaves Laurel with poor hand control, exhaustion and a lot of pain and she goes to the hospice every ten weeks for symptom control and respite with her family.

Despite the challenges she faces, Laurel has always been helpful to the care team, volunteers and other families during her stays.

Lindsay Wallman, lead nurse for children’s services at Little Havens, said: “In choosing a head girl there were certain qualities we were looking for.

“Laurel is someone who would be an excellent example to younger children; a person they could truly look up to.

“She is kind, loving and has the ability to mix well with all our families.”

Laurel said: “I’m really excited to be head girl. My responsibilities include switching on the Christmas lights at Little Havens, attending the hospice’s various open days throughout the year, speaking about the hospice to children as required, taking part in craft activities and going on outings with younger children.”

Laurel’s mum Cara Parker, 43, said her daughter was inspiring.

She said: “She has loved coming to Little Havens for quite a few years now and it really is her second home. Knowing they felt she was able to offer so much, and to think how much people thought of her is quite humbling.”