Five-year-old girl from Cambridgeshire wins kindness award after befriending Ukrainian refugee

  • Five-year-old Grace told ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper about her special friendship with Amelia

A schoolgirl who befriended a Ukrainian refugee in her class has won an award for her kindness.

Grace Prior made friends with fellow five-year-old Amelia when she started at her school after fleeing Ukraine.

The youngster from March in Cambridgeshire even learned some Ukrainian to be able to talk to Amelia and and spent a weekend painting her a card decked out in blue and yellow.

She asked her mum for help to write something in her native language so the family found a translator before handing it to Amelia and her mother Anastasia at school.

Grace video-calling her friend Amelia and her family Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Anastasia opened it and realised it was in Ukrainian and her eyes went," said mum Beth Prior.

"She started reading it and by the end of the second line her voice was gone.. she was just sobbing and then I was sobbing in the playground!

"It's just so lovely. Their relationship goes beyond that language barrier and it doesn't make a difference.

"Grace just saw this new girl in a new school and wanted to be friends with her and she's just gone out of her way to do that."

Grace received her award from musician Aston Merrygold Credit: Mattel

Grace was selected from over 600 entrants across the UK, along with four other winners, to receive a Thomas & Friends International Friendship Day Award, and collected it at a ceremony in London organised by the popular children's TV show.

She was given her award by musician Aston Merrygold, to thank her for putting others first and going above and beyond to help a friend.

Grace told ITV News Anglia the basis for the girls' friendship was simple.

"I like her," she said. "Sometimes Amelia makes pictures for me and sometimes I make pictures for her."

Millie from Milton Keynes was one of five to receive the award. Credit: Mattel

Among the other winners was eight-year-old Millie from Milton Keynes, who also received an award after being nominated by her teacher who spotted a special friendship between Millie and one of her classmates who has Down's Syndrome.

Millie also went above and beyond to help her friend, learning Makaton - a language that uses symbols, signs and speech - to help communicate with her friend.

Her teacher described Millie's friendship as "selfless", and described Millie as a "very special and remarkable girl".

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