A SIX-year-old girl who sends certificates to sick children all over the world to try and cheer them up has been given a special prize.

Lyla O'Donovan, from Ushaw Moor, near Durham, has spent half of her life in and out of hospital after being diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of the three.

But the youngster, who goes to Bearpark Primary School, is determined to make other sick children smile by sending them certificates she makes with her sister, Lilley.

She has now won the inspirational child category at the WellChild Awards, run by the national charity for seriously ill children, after being picked from hundreds of nominations.

Kirsty O’Donovan, her mum, said: “For Lyla, making other children happy is the best medicine.

"She is so proud of herself when she sees a picture of another child smiling as they open a certificate from her. She is the bravest child I know and takes everything in her stride. We are so proud that she has been recognised with this WellChild Award.”

The Northern Echo:

Lyla O'Donovan, pictured earlier this year as a bridesmaid for her parents' vow renewal ceremony

She has been invited as one of the guests of honour at a ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, in London, which is often attended by Prince Harry, the charity's royal patron, and takes place on October 15.

The awards celebrate the courage of children coping with serious illnesses and honour the dedication of professionals who help them and their families.

Since being diagnosed three years ago, Lyla has had to undergo eight operations and deal with countless complications, including meningitis, hydrocephalus and having a VP shunt implanted.

The family, including Lyla's five siblings, have been busy making memories this year in case she needs a potentially life-threatening operation.

Earlier this year she got to be a bridesmaid as her parents renewed their wedding vows, while she has also been raising money for charity by recording her favourite song from the film "Frozen".

Tara Parker, WellChild’s director of programmes, said: “It is a tremendous challenge to select winners from the many, many truly amazing nominations we receive from all over the country.

"All the panel members are moved by the bravery of the children, the stories of selfless care and support and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, teachers, brothers and sisters who make a great difference to the lives of seriously ill children and young people."

"Lyla truly deserves to be the winner of this award."