Pride of Britain: The student who turned a devastating personal loss into something positive

We have been asking for your nominations for people in our region that go the extra mile to help others and raise money for charity.

Four individuals have been shortlisted for the chance to become the Midlands finalist for the Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the Year.

In March 2017, while she was away at university, Lydia Wilkinson's mother and younger brother were murdered by a homeless man they had taken in to their home. Her father was also attacked, but survived his injuries.

Month later, which she was still coping with her personal grief, Lydia began fundraising for Birmingham Children's Hospital, where her younger brother Pierce was treated.

Pierce had previously received open heart surgery at the hospital, when he was five years old.

Lydia lost her mother and brother in 2017. Credit: Family photo

Lydia says she wanted to thank the hospital for saving his life once – and for trying to save him a second time.

She said: "If he hadn't have had this surgery, he wouldn't have lived for much longer.

"Although they couldn't save Pierce's life the second time around, they've done so before and went well above and beyond the call of duty.

"They allowed him to have such a happy life. Unfortunately it came to an end far sooner than it should have, but it's because of Birmingham Children's that he was able to gave that."

Lydia's brother Pierce was treated at Birmingham Children's Hospital twice. Credit: Family photo

Lydia is preparing to run the Birmingham Half Marathon, and has so far raised over £13,000. He smashed her target of £1,000.

She is fundraising for the hospital’s Critical Journeys Appeal, to provide the latest life-saving equipment for their fleet of four Critical Care Ambulances.

One of the ambulances was used to take Pierce to hospital.

Lydia and her younger brother Pierce. Credit: Family photo

Dr Sanjay Revanna, a consultant specialising in paediatric intensive care, said: "Many of these children, because they're so poorly. They need to be transferred to a higher centre, to an intensive care unit.

"In those circumstance we dispatch a highly trained team in a specialised ambulance. The idea is to start delivering intensive care at the earliest."

She praised Lydia for her fundraising, adding: "What she's doing is truly extraordinary.

"She's such a young girl, and she's been able to put aside her own personal loss, her inner grief, and turn it into something positive, so it can benefit other children and families who are in similar circumstance. I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart on behalf of our organisation."