A LITTLE girl with a big voice got the surprise of her life when she was honoured with the title Young Person of the Year at Silk FM's Local Hero Awards for raising over £4,000 in aid of a stillbirth charity.
Talented Clarissa Hayward, 11, of Congleton Road, Macclesfield recorded a CD in memory of her older sister Kathleen who was stillborn 12 years ago, and was celebrated for her tremendous achievement at the prestigious ceremony.
Macclesfield MP Sir Nicholas Winterton, who presented Clarissa with her beautiful cut glass trophy, said: "This young lady really does have a beautiful voice."
And without any hint of nerves, Clarissa performed A Perfect Year after being asked to sing by host Andy Bailey from Silk FM at the awards night.
She attended the bash even though she was shattered after a week-long residential trip with classmates.
Clarissa said: "It was a complete surprise but I am really pleased, and my friends will be proud of me. I felt okay singing even though I had just got back from the Conway Centre that afternoon. I wanted to record the CD because it was for my sister and I am pleased with its success."
The singing sensation added she had no plans for anymore CDs as yet but does want to go into performing professionally when older.
Dad Alan, who runs Elegant Curtains, a curtain alteration business, nominated his daughter and said how proud he was when her name was announced as the winner on Friday evening.
"We were quite taken aback, I could not believe it was my little girl walking up there in front of all those people, which would be quite a daunting task in a venue she does not know, but she enjoys what she is doing and just loves to sing," he said.
"To have an accolade like this for Clarissa at such a young age for doing something in aid of her sister is amazing. It brought back a lot of memories and emotions."
Kind-hearted Clarissa, who goes to Tytherington High School, decided to raise money for the charity SANDS - the Stillbirth and Neo-natal Death Society - after being told by her parents what had happened to the sister she never knew.
The charity helped the couple through the loss of their first child when she died before being born at Macclesfield Hospital.
They waited until Clarissa's younger sister Fleur, eight, was old enough to explain.
"Children are quite resilient but when Clarissa came back to us saying she wanted to do something for her older sister, we were dumbfounded. We paid for the recording of the CD and 1,000 copies, never in our wildest dreams did we think she would win an award for doing this," said Alan.
Clarissa recently raised £700 for the charity closest to her heart in one day singing in St Anne's Square in Manchester and the star has been asked to help switch on the Christmas lights in Northwich.
Memory, which includes ballads Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Eva Cassidy and The Closest Thing to Crazy by Katie Melua, is dedicated to Kathleen and available for £7 from WHSmith Macclesfield, Jones Music on Charlotte Street and the Famous Army Stores and Merebrook Books on Chestergate.
The family are aiming to raise £5,000 for the charity and information about SANDS is included in the CD.