P&G winners’ stories: Michelle Barrett

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  • In November P&G, the Proud Sponsor of Mums, launched the Champion Mums’ Foundation: A campaign offering hardworking mums the chance to be awarded a bursary from a whopping £150,000 pot. The only stipulation was that the award had to be used towards making a positive difference to the winners’ lives as mums, to their family or to the community.

    Here Michelle tells us what winning the prize meant to her… 

    ‘The radio was on in the kitchen and the kids were playing in the garden, just a normal day in our busy home. Wham! was blaring out, Wake me up before you go go…

    ‘And just like that I was miles away. Back to a much happier time when my beautiful little sister, Lesley Ann, was still with us.

    ‘I imagined her singing along to her favourite song, using a hairbrush as a microphone.

    ‘We lost Lesley Ann back in May 2011. She was just 34, a single mum to Cameron, now 10, Callum, 4, and Alfie, 2. It was so unexpected – she hadn’t been ill, but died suddenly from a blood clot. One day she was fine and the next she was gone.

    ‘Her boys came to live with me and my partner, Abdul and our boys Harun, now 11 and Haris, 7.

    ‘We were all heartbroken and adjusting to the new situation was hard for everyone. My nephews had a new home and my boys suddenly had a bigger family. But as the months passed, we got used to it. The boys coped well. They had their down days, but picked each other up. They loved playing in the garden, but it was completely overgrown.

    ‘”Wouldn’t it be great if we could do the garden up for the boys?” I said to Abdul one day. The problem was we didn’t have any spare money.

    ‘Then one day I was on the internet and came across the P&G Champion Mums’ Foundation, which was offering mums the chance to win an award to help them improve their life or that of their family or community.

    ‘”Maybe, they’ll award us the money to give the garden a makeover?” I said to Abdul. I filled in the form and then just a few weeks later…

    ‘”We’d like to award you £5,000 to do up your garden,” the voice on the other end of the phone said.

    ‘I was so shocked. We were really going to get our garden!

    ‘We went about planning exactly what we wanted – it was going to be a lot of work! We’d have a grassy area for playing games and then a paved area for chilling out, with a bench as a memorial for Lesley Ann.

    ‘It’s made a huge difference to the kids. They’ve now got a place where they can feel close to their mum and have fun, which is important after everything they’ve been through. I’m so proud of them. I can see Lesley Ann in the way they act, especially when they sing and dance around the way she used to.’

    Behind the prize

    Proud Sponsor of Mums P&G has been making mums’ lives easier for more than 170 years with trusted household brands such as Gillette and Ariel Stain Remover. Now P&G is saying thank you to mums for all the amazing things they do. Find out more by visiting www.thankyoumum.pg.com