THE GOR­GEOUS WELSH KIDS WHO ARE FACES OF M&S CAM­PAIGN

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - ANNA LEWIS Re­porter anna.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

THEY may not even be 10 years old, but two Welsh chil­dren are tak­ing the world of modelling by storm.

Both Cora Bishop and Lu­cus Evans have Down’s syn­drome and in the past few months have ap­peared on posters, ad­verts and news­pa­pers across the world as the faces of the Marks & Spencer Back to School cam­paign.

This is just the lat­est in a string of cast­ings, film­ing and photo shoots – all along­side go­ing to pri­mary school each day.

Un­til Lu­cus, six, was born, proud par­ents Kel­lie and Do­minic Evans had no idea their child would have Down’s syn­drome.

No sooner had the fam­ily taken home their new­born son than they were faced with an­other dis­cov­ery – a week later their older son Alexan­der was di­ag­nosed with cere­bral palsy.

Since then, how­ever, the two boys have gone from strength to strength and now hold their own along­side their two sis­ters, modelling for a num­ber of main­stream agen­cies.

“In two weeks I dis­cov­ered my two boys had dis­abil­i­ties,” said Kel­lie, 40, from Brid­gend. “I knew noth­ing. “I was at home when Lu­cus was about seven days old and I re­mem­ber look­ing at things on­line.

“I phoned the doc­tors and just said, ‘I don’t want to read about the fact that my son might be in­fer­tile on­line, I need some­one to sit down with me and tell me.’

“When you have a child their fu­ture isn’t mapped out, they can do any­thing.

“I re­mem­ber cry­ing, say­ing to Do­minic that Lu­cus will never be a fire­man – I didn’t even want him to be a fire­man. I wasn’t be­ing neg­a­tive, I was just be­ing a re­al­ist.”

To help oth­ers in the same sit­u­a­tion, Kel­lie set up the Butterfly Hut in Bris­tol. Now part­nered with na­tional char­ity Fol­low Your Dreams, its aim is to pro­vide safe, in­clu­sive play for chil­dren with spe­cial needs.

As well as their char­ity work, Kel­lie’s fam­ily have also learned new skills to help Peny­bont Pri­mary School pupil Lu­cus – in­clud­ing older sis­ter Is­abella, who has taught her­self sign lan­guage.

Along­side her modelling work, Is­abella, 12, runs her own In­sta­gram page to teach words to oth­ers – of­ten with videos star­ring Lu­cus him­self.

Kel­lie said: “She did the sign for Clean Ban­dit’s Rock­abye – I think then she had been learn­ing sign lan­guage for about a year. It got 30,000 views.

“Now she does pop songs and will do her word of the day videos. Peo­ple will mes­sage her through me to say they are learn­ing to talk to their child through it.

“She taught her­self and we are learn­ing from her. I can sign ‘I love you’ to Lu­cus and we’re not dis­turb­ing any­one. Lu­cus loves it, it’s like his se­cret lit­tle lan­guage.”

So far Lu­cus has starred in cam­paigns for the likes of Thomas and Friends and the NSPCC, fol­lowed by a TV de­but on Hol­lyoaks.

He has also been fea­tured on Na­tional Trust and Royal Mint ad­verts along­side brother Alexan­der, eight, and sis­ters Is­abella, 12, and In­di­ana, four.

For Kel­lie, the de­ci­sion to use a main­stream agency for all four sib­lings stemmed from her con­cerns over pi­geon­hol­ing chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties.

She said: “He loves it. For Lu­cus as much as he doesn’t talk a lot, he is re­ally so­cia­ble and as soon as that cam­era comes out he will start to in­ter­act with it.”

She added: “Over­all peo­ple are re­ally pos­i­tive – so many peo­ple tell me how beau­ti­ful Lu­cus is – but there has been the odd one.

“You have peo­ple star­ing, as they are cu­ri­ous or have a per­sonal story or know some­one who is dis­abled, but they are too shy to ask any­thing.

“You can tell those from peo­ple with a gri­mace.

“I re­mem­ber I was in Bris­tol about two and a half years ago and a lady came from be­hind a cof­fee ta­ble.

“She said, ‘Do you re­alise that things have come on so much now that you can fix his eyes?’ I just re­mem­ber look­ing at her.”

This sum­mer, be­ing cho­sen for the Marks & Spencer Back to School cam­paign marked Lu­cus’ big­gest work yet, thanks to child agency Kid­di­winks.

For his fam­ily the work rep­re­sents an im­por­tant step in in­clud­ing peo­ple with Down’s syn­drome in the main­stream me­dia.

Since then fam­ily and friends have sent Lu­cus pic­tures of his posters from all over the world, in­clud­ing as far as Dubai.

Kel­lie said: “Lu­cus loves see­ing him­self on TV and see­ing his sib­lings but with Marks & Spencer it was the first time he was shocked.

“He did the shoot and they took the pho­tos and they came back and said they wanted to use it world­wide.

“It’s just so great to see a child with Down’s syn­drome in shops like M&S.”

You can fol­low Lu­cus and his sib­lings at in­sta­gram.com/in­di­ana_is­abel­la_lu­cus_xan­der

Sh­eryl Bishop was told there were com­pli­ca­tions with her un­born daugh­ter Cora at 21 weeks preg­nant.

Re­fus­ing the op­tion to ter­mi­nate the preg­nancy, the 32-year-old and her part­ner Daniel went forward not know­ing what to ex­pect.

“We knew there were com­pli­ca­tions with the preg­nancy from 20 weeks,” Sh­eryl, from Brymbo in Wrexham, said.

“We were told her heart hadn’t de­vel­oped, her brain hadn’t de­vel­oped, and her face hadn’t de­vel­oped so we were ex­pect­ing some­thing much worse.

“All the way through we were pushed for a ter­mi­na­tion be­fore any sort of di­ag­no­sis, even at 37 weeks.

“We were made aware of our op­tions, in­clud­ing tests and ter­mi­na­tions, and made it clear that the only way we would con­sider a ter­mi­na­tion was if our daugh­ter was at risk of or­gan fail­ure and would suf­fer from birth.”

At 39 weeks Cora was born af­ter an emer­gency C-sec­tion.

Sh­eryl said: “Daniel was the first to hold her and his face said it all – he was smil­ing but he looked con­cerned so I knew some­thing was wrong.

“As soon as I saw her lit­tle face I knew that Cora had Down’s syn­drome. I felt a pang of pain and then a huge sense of re­lief that all the things we’d been ex­pect­ing were wrong.”

Cora is now seven years old and a pupil at Gw­er­syllt Pri­mary School.

Last April her fam­ily heard about Zebedee Man­age­ment agency, which spe­cialises in work­ing with chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties.

Af­ter be­ing signed up, Cora was soon in­vited to a cast­ing for the River Is­land La­bels Are For Clothes cam­paign to cel­e­brate di­ver­sity.

Fol­low­ing a 10-hour round trip and 10-minute au­di­tion, Cora was se­lected to­gether with other chil­dren aged be­tween three and 10 for the cam­paign.

Mother-of-two Sh­eryl said: “Cora ab­so­lutely loved it – she was in her el­e­ment be­ing the cen­tre of at­ten­tion and mak­ing ev­ery­one laugh.

“She loves all the big bows and girly things.

“They took her to the set where they film the video and she just ran

Cora Bishop, seven, from Wrexham, loves modelling

Lu­cus Evans, six, who has Down’s syn­drome,

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