VIDEO: Northampton siblings overcome crippling disabilities to triumph as UK top models
A talented brother and sister who suffer from crippling disabilities are walking tall - after being tipped to become the UK's next top child models.
Eight-year-old Keelan Beech and his ten-year-old sister Aimee-Lee have beaten thousands of other children to represent the country in a national beauty pageant.
Keelan suffers from Perthes which means his hip joint is constantly being worn away, making walking excruciatingly painful while Aimee-Lee suffers from cerebral palsy
But judges were so impressed with their performances at the Top High Street Model UK contest earlier this month they secured a place in the national finals in October.
If they win the star-studded event in Blackpool, they will represent the UK in a world final in Orlando Florida later in the year.
Despite their disabilities, the siblings showed early potential and Aimee-Lee was even head-hunted by Naomi Campbell’s modelling agency when she was seven.
Proud dad Lee Beech, 42, a HGV driver from Northampton, said: “I am immensely proud of my children. They are true role models.
“The live for modelling. They are so hungry for it and they love competing.
“It all started when Aimee-Lee won a baby contest to be the face of Northampton which was run by the local paper
“Representatives visited the hospital when Aimee-Lee was just days old and they were looking for potential babies.
“They asked me if I would be happy with Aimee-Lee being the face of Northampton, and I agreed.
“She held that title for two years.
“Three years ago, I received an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple Models in London, which is Naomi Campbell’s agency.
“They said they were really interested in doing a photoshoot with Aimee-Lee, so I called the head office to check it was legitimate, and it was.
“They took 48 photos of her, and decided to use 45 of them professionally.
“They put her on the books and it started from there.
“From then, I have been bombarded with phone calls, and Aimee-Lee is now on the books at BIzzyKidz modelling agency,
“Keelan would come along with us to the photoshoots, and one day I was asked if I would consider allowing Keelan and Aimee-Lee to be twin models.
“They aren’t the same age, but they are the spitting image of each other.
“That’s where it all started, and their passion has grown ever since.
“Their physical conditions don’t hold either of them back and they don’t even notice they are different.
“Aimee-Lee has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth, and she has therapy on her legs to help her as she often loses balance.
“She wears a splint day and night, but doesn’t when she models.
“Aimee-Lee just wants to show everyone that having a disability doesn’t have to hold you back.
“As long as you’re prepared to work hard at it, anything is achievable.
“Keelan was diagnosed with Perthes two years ago, and it knocked him for six.
“He uses a wheelchair most of the time, so it’s really quite painful for him sometimes because of the specific way you’re expected to walk and position yourself.
“He does it with a bit of a hobble, bless him. He does struggle, but he is determined to overcome it.
“Modelling for him is so special he’s so determined that this what he wants to do in his life. I’m so proud of him.
“He’s already had an operation to sever the tendons in his groins to make it easier for him to walk, but he still needs another operation.
“The doctors said he might need to have new hips, but he’s just too young.”