THE MUM of a York schoolgirl who is undergoing gruelling treatment for cancer has nominated her daughter for this year's Child of the Year award.

The accolade, part of The Press's Community Pride awards, is for youngsters who overcome adversity or face up to life’s hardships and challenges with courage.

And according to mum Gemma Spratt, that's exactly what five year old Phoebe Watling does.

Phoebe, who goes to Stockton on the Forest Primary School, started complaining of stomach ache just days before Christmas. Before long she was in hospital with suspected appendicitis, but the Phoebe and her family soon learnt she was actually suffering from a childhood cancer.

After tests, Phoebe was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and intensive treatment started immediately meaning she spent Christmas in Leeds General Infirmary.

Her illness came as a huge shock as Phoebe had previously appeared very healthy.

After the initial treatment she faces more bouts of chemotherapy until as late as February 2016.

But despite the pain and trauma of her illness, the little girl has astonished her friends and family with her bravery.

Gemma, from Huntington, said: "Phoebe has gone from being a healthy outgoing five year old to one who has limitations on her day to day life.

"She has been amazing and taken everything in her stride - from losing her long thick curly hair, to having chemotherapy, to being in hospital - the list is endless."

Gemma and the rest of Phoebe's family are so impressed with how she has faced up to her illness they think she deserves public recognition through the Community Pride awards.

Gemma added: "She is amazingly brave and all of her friends and family are very proud of her and how she has coped with this horrible illness."

The Child of the Year award, which is sponsored by Saville Audio Visual is part of The Press's Community Awards, run with City of York Council.

They exist to recognise the brave and selfless people in York who serve their communities, overcome adversity, inspire other people and make York a better place to be.

Young people aged 12 or under are eligible for the Child of the Year category, and the judges want to see your nominations for inspirational, fearless youngsters who face whatever life throws at them with courage.

For more information or to make a nomination go to All nominees must live in, or contribute to life in, the City of York Council area.

Three finalists from each category will be invited to the awards ceremony at York Racecourse in October, when the winners will be revealed.