A four-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome has been given a star modelling role in Marks and Spencer's Christmas catalogue after his mother contacted the store through Facebook.
Seb White's mother, Caroline, felt compelled to ask the store to consider using Seb after realising that youngsters with Down's Syndrome were not represented in modelling campaigns.
She said: “When Seb was born, I vividly remember seeing lots of ads with hundreds of beautifully perfect kids in them and it just added to my sense of isolation and difference.
Seb White will appear in M&S's Christmas catalogue
“Then back in July when we were shopping for Seb’s school uniform it occurred to me again that all the ‘different’ children out there that are starting school are just not represented.”
Posting on the M&S facebook page, she said: “He has striking, unusual features, charms the pants off everyone he meets and his little face is full of magic and mischief.
“So here’s the thing. He also happens to have Down’s Syndrome. When he was born I was shocked to my core.
Seb's mother contacted M&S over facebook
“I knew nothing about the condition and what should have been the happiest day of my life was the worst.
“I could never have imagined how excited and proud I would feel about him starting mainstream school in a couple of weeks. I wouldn't swap him or my experience for the world.
“My heartfelt plight is to get him ‘out there’ and get the message across that different isn’t any less wonderful – or even that different.
“I also think using him could help create a truly original, bold and memorable campaign, which would fit perfectly with M&S’s family values and inclusive ethics.”
The post generated a huge amount of positive comments from other users and M&S quickly seized upon the idea.
Seb with his mother Caroline
An M&S spokesperson said: “The response from our customers to Caroline’s post on our Facebook page was amazing. It really was social media at its best.
“We always look for kids who have fun in front of the camera and Sebastian was a pleasure to work with.
“Everyone involved in the shoot had a fantastic day and we’re really looking forward to seeing Sebastian in our Christmas magazine.”
Seb's mother hopes that this is just the start of his modelling career. She said: "I've never been the sort of mother who pushes her kids to do modelling, but it is about getting his face out there and raising awareness.
"If Seb's modelling helps someone else who feels isolated because of Down's Syndrome, then we've done what we set out to do."