Julie is crowned mum of the year at emotional Brandon awards event
To a modest Julie Bellotti, caring round-the-clock for her two disabled children for several years is “just a way of life”.
But now the 55-year-old has been rewarded for the “incredible” dedication to her family by being named Brandon’s mother of the year.
Mrs Bellotti’s son Tom, 30, and daughter Chloe, 23, were both born with spinal muscular atrophy.
The genetic disease causes muscle weakness and leads to a progressive loss of movement, with Chloe and Tom both today in wheelchairs and unable to do the things many people take granted, such as getting dressed, eating and, in Chloe’s case, doing her hair and make-up.
Particularly as the condition has got worse in recent years, Mrs Bellotti has taken on crucial duties such as turning them in bed at night and helping them get up.
She and her husband Peter, 56, even sleep in four-hour shifts so they can both be on duty should Tom and Chloe need help in the night - and then work full-time delivering catalogues to keep the family afloat.
Without her help, Tom admitted: “We wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning.”
So when the siblings saw the mother of the year competition being organised at Brandon Tesco, they thought she deserved the top prize of an overnight stay for two at the Elveden Inn - and a chance to get a decent night’s sleep for the first time in 30 years.
“Mum should not only be Brandon mother of the year this year but every year,” they said on their entry.
Richard Lawson, general manager of the Elveden Inn, said it was a “hard job” to pick a winner out of the 10 mums shortlisted. Each finalist was given an afternoon tea at the Inn.
Runner-up Caron Broyles - who was nominated by her daughter Sam for overcoming depression after a divorce, won a family meal for four.
Does your mum deserve recognition? Email firstname.lastname@example.org