The best of Mirror More Hopeful – sisterly love, a life of kindness and guardian angels

As we move towards another pandemic New Year with trepidation, hope is more crucial than ever.

And nothing inspires that more than the bravery, resilience and kindness of others.

This year, the Daily Mirror launched its Mirror More Hopeful series, ensuring each week we focus on positive, uplifting stories amid the pressing news agenda.

We hoped these would help remind us all of the good in human nature; how extraordinary achievements can be made, and kindness given, even when life feels bleak.

Here we look back on some of our favourites.

Sisterly love

In November this smiling picture of two young sisters said it all about the power of love – and a helping hand.

Laura Guilliatt, 32, and her partner Simon Robinson, 46, welcomed non-identical twins Freya and Caitlyn, two, on September 29, 2019.

Freya was born with Down’s Syndrome, while Caitlyn was not, which is thought to be a 14 in one million chance with non-identical twins.

Twincredible Caitlyn, Laura, Simon and Freya



As they grew, Caitlyn began crawling and walking before her sister, but she was determined not to leave Freya behind.

Laura, from Gainsborough, Lincs, recalled: “She would constantly come and take Freya’s hand to support her, it was lovely to watch. Caitlyn would also bring the baby walker over to her sister for a bit more assistance and go along behind her to make sure she was okay.

Caitlyn and twin Freya are hands-on



“She totally mothered her.”

Against the odds, Freya began walking just before their second birthday.

A life of kindness

In the summer we featured Icolyn “Ma” Smith who at 91 still rolls up her sleeves every week and cooks dozens of meals for the homeless.

She opened the Oxford Community Soup Kitchen 30 years ago after after moving from Jamaica in 1965 and seeing a young man searching rubbish bins for something to eat.

Since then she has cooked and served over 50,000 meals and received an MBE and a Pride of Britain Award for her work.

Soup kitchen founder Icolyn is dedicated


Rowan Griffiths)

She told us: “If you can’t help somebody in life then what is life about? You cannot be selfish. Kindness is all about love. When I look at the homeless people I think they could be my son or my grandchild. When you help somebody today it could help you tomorrow.”

Throughout lockdowns the kitchen has provided takeaway meals, and last week held its Christmas lunch.

Ma has no plans to hang up her apron just yet.

Selfless carer

Even when she was desperately ill in hospital with Covid, one care worker refused to stop caring for others.

In November we reported on the incredible kindness of Tracy Hamilton, who was on oxygen at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, last Christmas.

Despite fearing for herself, when she was admitted, the 56-year-old recognised one of her fellow patients, and asked to be placed in the next bed to comfort them.

Tracy Hamilton won a prestigious Care Award after selflessly helping a man with Covid-19 – even when she was ill herself


Care Awards WS)

“I just went into work mode. I was scared when I got to hospital but when I knew he was there, that focused my mind,” she explained.

“I knew I could keep him calm and he trusted me. I’ve supported a lot of people at the end of their lives.

“I couldn’t just lie there knowing he was nearby and the nurses helped me to be there for him as much as I could. It also helped them to do their jobs, they were so busy.”

The Mirror is committed to more hopeful news.

We recognise the news agenda can sometimes feel overwhelmingly negative.

And while it’s our job to keep you informed and hold those in power to account, we are making a commitment to also report more hopeful news.

We will celebrate the people, places and movements that are bringing good into the world and, more than that, we will dig beneath the surface of important issues with the aim of finding hope.

We will be firm in our convictions – but always fair-minded.

By sharing solutions to problems, we can do more good and feel better about the world around us.

Because we believe you deserve it. #mirrormorehopeful

Tracy, who works for charity Community Integrated Care in Newcastle, was taken to hospital by paramedics, passing out multiple times.

Thankfully she recovered, and although sadly her companion did not, she received warm thanks from his family and was honoured with the Sara Berrio Care Champion prize at the National Care Awards for her selfless actions.

Hope in name and nature

Her name could not be more apt.

This month we reported on the incredible resilience of 23-month-old Hope Kedziorski who was finally able to return home from hospital after overcoming a rare blood cancer.

The tiny toddler’s brave little body has fought devastating blows, yet she proudly rang the bell at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh to signal her recovery.

Hope is a little smiler


Mercury Press & Media Ltd.)

Diagnosed with myelodysplasia last October, Hope, who also has Down’s Syndrome, has endured a series of bone marrow operations and received blood transfusions and chemotherapy. She also fought sepsis.

Her parents Kirstie Wilkie, 38, and Tomasz Kedziorski, 38, from South Queensferry, Scotland, spent months at her bedside.

Kirstie said: “The whole summer was terrifying but Hope continued to amaze us.

Kirstie and Hope leave the hospital


Mercury Press & Media Ltd.)

“She had a total of six bone marrow biopsies and three central lines fitted and removed.

“And 19 blood and platelet transfusions, yet she would still get up every day with a smile on her face and play.”

Reaching for the stars

He is just four-years-old and an amputee, but neither age nor disability were ever going to stop Albie-Junior Thomas from scaling the 3560ft summit of Snowdon.

And in doing so, becoming the youngest person ever to do it.

In an incredible testament to resilience and drive, the little boy, born with a condition that left his foot disfigured, has been racing about on a prosthetic limb since the age of two, and dreams of competing in the Paralympics.

Albie-Junior at summit with his dad


Daniel Thomas / SWNS)

He completed the climb in five hours 23 minutes with dad Daniel, from Holywell, Wales, who explained: “He’s fitter and stronger than other boys his age. He shows them what to do.”

Albie was born on December 3, 2016, with fibula hemimelia, meaning his left foot was disfigured and his left leg was 5cm shorter than his right. His parents agreed to have his left foot amputated when he was 15-months-old.

Dad Daniel Thomas helped son Albie-Junior become the youngest person to scale Snowdon


Daniel Thomas / SWNS)

Now, climbing mountains is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last year Daniel ran seven marathons in seven days, and Albie ran the first mile of each one with him.

And their plan for the New Year is to climb Ben Nevis in February.

Guardian angels

In June we published a special edition reporting on 1000 acts of kindness, and this gang of motorcyclists stole readers’ hearts.

The UK Nomads are simply angels – far from hell.

Made up of serving and ex-police, fire, ambulance and military personnel, the group of bikers were founded here in 2019, following first conception in the States.

Committed to helping their community, they have fed over 115,000 vulnerable people since the beginning of the pandemic, befriended elderly veterans, reached out to the homeless and supported domestic violence victims.

Grant, left, Doug Bainbridge and Richard Harvey do it the ride way



Visiting them in Hertfordshire, they told us how they also grafted in local parks and school grounds, transformed gardens for disabled children and PTSD sufferers and provided necessities for hard-up families.

The Kaotic Angels even threw a party for a little boy whose mother was struggling.

“There’s nothing special about what we do,” said UK President Grant “Spectre” Prest, 37, a former military serviceman and armed response police officer.

“We’ve served in our professional lives and we still believe in helping our communities in any way we can.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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