By Heather Darlington

All cameras were on a young Cheam girl after she won the regional heat of ITV's Carer of the Year award.

Genefer Jane Sales, from Churchill Road, was nominated for the award by her dad Mike as a way of saying thank you for all her help.

Described as the "healthy one" in the family, the nine-year-old helps support her brother, Tom, 11, who has Asperger's syndrome, her mum Jane, who is severely disabled with a raft of illnesses, including osteo-arthritis, and her dad who is in remission for throat and neck cancer.

Despite tough competition from four other finalists, when the final count came in on Monday it was Genefer who was chosen as a deserved winner.

Genefer says she was overwhelmed when the results were announced live on-air at London Television Studios.

"It was a little scary," she said. "I was shocked and amazed, there was a large crowd and everyone was cheering.

"All I could get out was good night'."

After receiving her award from TV personality Margarita Taylor and rubbing shoulders with stars including Esther Rantzen and Claire Sweeney, Genefer returned home with her proud family in tow.

"It was a smashing evening," said Mike. "Everything was laid on and the staff at ITV were very kind to us and completely made us feel at home.

"Genefer was up against such phenomenal people, we are really proud, everyone was in tears."

She will now join 16 other regional winners from all over the country to go through to the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.

They will select the carer whose compassion and dedication to helping others is most inspirational.

The winners will be announced at the awards on October 9.