2021 Winner

Rebecca Carless and Jamie McCallum

The pair’s viral video featuring children with Down syndrome led to a charity and inspirational global movement challenging negative perceptions

In March 2018, a Carpool Karaoke-style film of 50 mums and their children with Down syndrome singing and signing along in Makaton to the song A Thousand Years became one of the most-watched viral videos of all time, with more than 500 million views. 

The film, which also made headlines in 30 countries, was the brainchild of Coventry mum Becky, who came up with the idea to challenge negative perceptions of Downs, using the hashtag #wouldntchangeathing.

While she had no problem recruiting another 49 mums to take part, Becky, whose son Archie has Downs, had no idea how to edit the video and asked for help online. Jamie, dad to eight-year-old Rosie, saw her appeal, and made the film at home in Prestwick.

Jamie said: “Rosie was born with Down syndrome unexpectedly. The perception at that time is that you’ve been landed with a bunch of problems and that is what I now know to be wholly untrue. When I had that realisation I felt compelled to tell everyone about it.”

The astonishing success of the video led to the creation of a parent-led charity of the same name, with Jamie and Rebecca as Founder Trustees. Wouldn’t Change A Thing challenges negative and outdated perceptions in the media and advises organisations on inclusion.

It also offers positive stories to families, including a new book that is given to every new parent of a baby with Down syndrome, to give a positive insight into what lies ahead, based on the experiences of real families.

Rebecca, from Coventry, added: “We never, ever imagined it would pick up such momentum. We are just normal mums, we love our kids, they love us, and they are just like other four-year-olds – we wouldn’t change them.”