19 November 2023

Girl with muscular dystrophy walks runway at Bristol Fashion Show

19 November 2023

A nine-year-old girl with a rare form of muscular dystrophy has described walking the runway at Bristol Fashion Show as “exhilarating”.

Carmela Chillery-Watson, who used a frame to walk the runway, has been appearing at the fashion show since the age of five.

She has LMNA congenital muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle-wasting condition which affects her movement, heart and lungs – which she was diagnosed with in 2017 aged three.

But she has not let that stop her from walking in the show, as well as taking part in several fundraising challenges for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Speaking to the PA news agency after the show on Sunday night, Carmela, from Devizes, Wiltshire said: “I loved it.

“It was exhilarating.”

She said the highlight of the evening was wearing a pair of “gorgeous” dungarees.

“The highlight for me was wearing the dungarees, they had loads of smily faces on them,” she said.

“It was gorgeous.”

Carmela added that she would love to do more fashion runway modelling in future.

“I would love to do millions more,” she said.

Her mother Lucy Chillery-Watson, 47, said the atmosphere was “lovely”.

“It was buzzing,” she said.

“It’s full of colour, noise, cheering…

“And (Carmela’s) face, she was just lapping up the cheering as she walked down the catwalk.”

A portion of the ticket sales from the show will be donated to Cure4Carmela, a Muscular Dystrophy UK Family Fund, which raises donations to fund research into muscle-wasting and weakening conditions.

Since her diagnosis, Carmela and her family have been fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for the condition which supports more than 110,000 people in the UK living with one of the 60 types of the disease.

The family has raised more than £400,000 for the charity and Carmela was presented with a BCyA (British Citizen Youth Award) Medal of Honour in October for making a positive impact on her community and wider society.

To find out more, visit the Cure4Carmela website at musculardystrophyuk.org/get-involved/family-funds/funds/carmela.

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