Inspirational Lyla among shortlisted nominees for Leeds Friendly Leeds Awards 2024

Lyla Bell, from Thorpe, who was born with the genetic condition Cystic Fibrosis, is one of the finalists for the prestigious awards, which return for the ninth time to showcase the talent, achievement and energy of the town’s children and young people.

From a total of 300 nominations, 36 have now been shortlisted across seven categories celebrating the people, places and organizations that have helped make Leeds a child-friendly city.

The winners will be officially announced at an awards ceremony in July at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall.

Lyla was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at just six weeks old, and despite a grueling daily treatment regimen, her family say she is “determined” to succeed and be just like her friends.

The chronic, life-limiting condition affects a protein in the body and causes a sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system.

For Lyla, that means taking at least 30 tablets throughout the morning, lunchtime and evening, as well as daily aerobic exercise and a breathing device at night to free up her lungs.

But proud mother Michelle Bell said Lyla not letting her condition hold her back.

“She’s had a lifetime of medication, physio and doctor’s appointments, but she’s determined, very independent and wants to be like everyone else.

“When she was first diagnosed, it was really hard, really negative. We were only told what not to do – don’t go where there are big crowds, don’t go to the farm, don’t have bath toys, don’t have dirty taps, don’t go to playgrounds, don’t have don’t go at the nursery.

“But I had a really supportive nurse who was very much like ‘you have to live your life’ and that whatever we do will come with risks and to see how we do.”

Today, Lyla is an active member of 1St Lofthouse Brownies, collecting as many badges as he can and enjoys playing cricket with East Ardsley Cricket Club, which helps him meet his exercise needs.

Michelle said: “She should be doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day so we try to keep her physically active and find it easier to do it in a group setting. She loves being part of the cricket team and it’s been really good for her.”

The Robin Hood Primary School pupil also raised more than £1,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, from mini-challenge activities during lockdown to making and selling clay jewelery with a friend last summer.

She also continues to raise awareness of her condition wherever she can, including supporting the annual charity Wear Yellow Day and speaking at school during Invisible Disability Week.

Lyla is nominated in the ‘Child/Youth of the Year’ category at the awards. She said she was ‘pleased and happy’ to be nominated and added: ‘Sometimes I wish I didn’t have CF because I don’t like all the tablets, physio and appointments, especially blood tests. But CF is a part of me, so I wouldn’t be me without it.”

Also nominated in the same category is Aiden Reilly, 17, for his work in junior football; brothers Daniyaal, 16, and Abdullah Ashraq, 15, who set up a charity Women’s Whispers with their mother; James Tortice, 11, who regularly raises funds and awareness for ADHD and Leigh-Taylor Arundale, 16, who has raised funds for numerous charities since she was five.

The previous Leeds Children’s Awards were held in 2022 – a year which also marked the 10thth anniversary of the Child Friendly Leeds Initiative and saw King Charles III unveil a special plaque at Leeds Central Library to mark the occasion.

This year’s awards night ceremony is currently being planned by a group of young people who, together with a team from Leeds Heritage Theatres, are working on all the details, from designing the trophies and decorations to writing the script and selecting the young performers. take the stage at night.

Councilor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s social care and health partnerships, said:

“Since 2012, our ambition has been to make Leeds the best city for all our children and young people to grow up in.

“Becoming a child-friendly city is not something we as a council can do alone.

“There are so many people in the city who have really bought into what we are trying to achieve and are an inspiration in themselves. These awards are a great opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate their great work and achievements.”

The Child Friendly Leeds 2024 Awards are sponsored by aql, First Direct Arena, Hamara, Leeds Bid, The Grammar School in Leeds, Trinity Leeds, University of Leeds and White Rose Shopping Centre.

All nominees were shortlisted based on a points system and presented to judges from a children’s panel and an adult panel to decide the winners.

Steven Foster, Center Director at Trinity Leeds and White Rose Shopping Centre, said: “The work that Child Friendly Leeds does to make our city a better place for young people and families is vital and we are delighted to continue working together towards this goal as ambassadors for Trinity Leeds and the White Rose.

“Judging the awards and seeing the incredible projects in Leeds is an inspiration and we look forward to celebrating each nominee at this year’s ceremony.”

The full shortlist of nominees for the 2024 Leeds Friendly Child Awards is below.

For more information on each nominee, visit the Friendly Leeds website.

Category: Child/Youth of the Year

  • Aiden Reilly (17 years old)
  • Daniyaal and Abdullah Ashraq (16 and 15)
  • James Tortice (11 years old)
  • Leigh-Taylor Arundale (16)
  • Lyla Bell (10 years old)

Category: Youth Group of the Year

  • YOU GET Leeds
  • Holbeck Moor Junior Football Club
  • Leeds Dynamite Dance
  • Leeds Young Carers Engaged, Active, Participating (LEAP) Family Action
  • Youth Association – Community Ambassadors

Category: Adults making a difference for children and young people

  • Deborah Gregory-Hoskins
  • Margaret Duffill
  • John Furlong
  • Maria Amuesi
  • WEST SILC Powerhouse and Rob Lakewood

Category: Leeds 2023: Creativity through arts and culture

  • Brave words
  • Dazzle
  • Tutti Frutti Productions
  • Dance Union
  • Slung Low

Category: Outstanding Contribution to 12 Child Friendly Wishes in Leeds

  • Renaissance nurseries
  • pick-me-up
  • British Library
  • Lawyers from Piata Parcului
  • Wigton Moor Primary School
  • Youthwatch

Category: The best place for children and young people

  • Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm
  • Escape girls
  • Little Movers West Leeds
  • Leeds Circus
  • Puffin Ceramics

Category: Overall contribution to making Leeds a child-friendly city

  • Vine Child Contact Center
  • ZigZag Autism Support Group
  • Freedom 4 girls
  • Playful anywhere
  • Leeds Rhinos & Rhinos Foundation

Notes to editors:

The Child Friendly Leeds initiative is currently focusing on an action plan with ’12 wishes for the city’, from priorities identified through a city-wide survey which captured the views of 80,000 children and young people.

Leeds City Council is always looking for new Child Friendly Leeds Ambassadors who want to help make a difference to children and young people in Leeds. To find out more and how to get involved visit


For media inquiries, please contact:

Leeds City Council Communications and Marketing,

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: 0113 378 6007