Ex-soldier takes Emily to the prom

Berwick man Andrew Duffy made a special trip after discovering his friend's step-daughter, who has Down's Syndrome, did not have a date for her college prom.

Thursday, 7th July 2016, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 12:46 pm
Andrew Duffy took Emily to the prom.

Andrew made the journey to north Devon to take 18-year-old Emily Wheeler to the end-of-year party.

He first met Emily at the wedding of his old friend David Findlay and her mother Vikki Findlay.

He says he has since been inspired by her determination to live as independent a life as possible.

He said: “When I heard she had no one to take her to the prom, I was really upset for her – who wouldn’t want to take her? There was no doubt in my mind, I had to come down to Devon and help out. I didn’t do it for any form of recognition, I just wanted to dance with her and have a good time.’

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He drove to Edinburgh Airport, before flying to Bristol then driving to Barnstaple.

He presented Emily with a bunch of pink roses and asked her to be his date before accompanying the teenager to her Grease-themed prom.

To top off her night, Emily was voted prom queen.

Andrew suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq during his time in The King’s Own Scottish Borderers infantry regiment.

He says spending time with Emily has helped him deal with the anxiety, panic attacks and night terrors he suffers.

“I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for her,” he said. “I can honestly say that girl saved my life. When I spend time with her she just absorbs every bit of negativity, it is really quite amazing.

“When you suffer a debilitating illness you become withdrawn from society but being around people like Emily makes you understand there is life outside your own problems.”