'It was exhilarating' - Girl with muscular dystrophy walks runway at Bristol Fashion Show

Carmela Chillery-Watson taking to the catwalk at the Bristol Fashion Show. Credit: PA

A nine-year-old girl with a rare form of muscular dystrophy has described walking the runway at Bristol Fashion Show as “exhilarating”.

Carmela Chillery-Watson, who used a frame to walk the runway, has been appearing at the fashion show since she was five.

She has LMNA congenital muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle-wasting condition that affects her movement, heart and lungs. She was diagnosed in 2017 at the age of three.

However, Carmela has not let that stop her from walking in the show, as well as taking part in several fundraising challenges for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Before the show, Carmela told ITV News West Country that walking on a catwalk was one of her dreams.

She said: "I'm really excited because it helps my self-esteem, it helps me feel like me. When I walk down the catwalk, my face is beaming when everyone claps.

"I love all the outfits - they're always gorgeous".

Speaking of her experience after the show, Carmela said "I loved it". Credit: PA

Speaking after the show on Sunday night, Carmela, from Devizes, said: “I loved it.

“It was exhilarating.”

She said the highlight of the evening was wearing a pair of “gorgeous” dungarees.

“The highlight for me was wearing the dungarees, they had loads of smiley faces on them,” she said.

“It was gorgeous.”

Carmela added that she would love to do more fashion runway modelling.

“I would love to do millions more,” she said.

Since her diagnosis, Carmela and her family have been fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK. Credit: PA

Her mother Lucy Chillery-Watson, 47, said the atmosphere was “lovely”.

“It was buzzing,” she said.

“It’s full of colour, noise, cheering…

“And (Carmela’s) face, she was just lapping up the cheering as she walked down the catwalk.”

A portion of the ticket sales from the show will be donated to Cure4Carmela, a Muscular Dystrophy UK Family Fund, which raises donations to fund research into muscle-wasting and weakening conditions.

Since her diagnosis, Carmela and her family have been fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for the condition which supports more than 110,000 people in the UK living with one of the 60 types of the disease.

The family has raised more than £400,000 for the charity and Carmela was presented with a BCyA (British Citizen Youth Award) Medal of Honour in October for making a positive impact on her community and wider society.