Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds OBE on her hopes for 2016 | ActionAid UK

Four-time Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds OBE currently holds an impressive ten world records. She won her first Paralympic medal aged just 13 and received an MBE at 14! We think she's pretty awesome and a fantastic role model for children the world over. We're thrilled that she's supporting our Christmas appeal to help protect vulnerable homeless children around the world. 

Swimming superstar Ellie Simmonds OBE tells us about what she’s looking forward to most this Christmas.
Swimming superstar Ellie Simmonds OBE tells us about what she’s looking forward to most this Christmas.

What makes you happy at Christmas?

Being relaxed with family, being cosy and just staying inside watching films and generally relaxing. I live away from home, so to be able to come back and spend some amazing time with my family makes me so happy.

What makes you feel safe?

Being happy with the people around me and living in a place I feel secure. 

I can only imagine what it would feel like to not have those people supporting me, nor a place I can call home.

Was there anything you were scared of as a child?

Being alone in the dark, floods and burglars. To be honest, these haven’t really changed even as I’ve grown up. Well, maybe I'm not as scared of floods anymore, but being alone, and more specifically, being alone in the dark is something I'm terrified of.

What are you scared of now?

I wouldn’t say it’s so much being scared, but I'm not terribly keen on spiders and creepy crawlies. I also get nervous flying on a plane.

What are the things you worry about now?  

I hate being late. It really is the thing I worry most about and do everything in my power to avoid. Just the thought of being late makes me anxious as I hate the thought of letting people down.

What do you hope 2016 brings?

A start to a more peaceful and safe world. We keep seeing tragedies take place all over the world and I just hope one day we all can learn to live with one another peacefully. 2016 is obviously going to be a big year for my career also, so I'm looking forward to doing some more travelling – hopefully to Rio, next summer – and just keep enjoying what I'm doing.

ActionAid Nepal is helping vulnerable children who lost their homes in the earthquakes earlier this year.

What would your message be to children around the world facing serious hardship right now?

I just hope all these children can hang on to hope, stay brave and look for the positive opportunities around, however small.

So many homeless children around the world are facing a Christmas and New Year of uncertainty and fear. ActionAid staff are working from Greece to Nepal to support these children, providing warm clothes and essential supplies to help them this winter.

Please donate to our Christmas appeal

Photo credits: Ellie Simmonds, Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid