A mother and daughter from Weston-super-Mare, with a YouTube channel that has more 10,000 subscribers, has inspired a book dedication by author Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

Nikki Holt and Lucinda, who was born with Down syndrome and attend Uphill Village Academy, prompted Nikki to learn Makaton, a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs, and speech to enable people to communicate. 

It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.

Nikki launched the channel Makaton With Lucinda, where they did a word and sign of the day. Initially it was for fun but grew up in popularity and has 11,800 subscribers.

Among them is renowned author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who used the channel to research Makaton for her latest book The Best Sleepover In The World and dedicated her book to them.

“My first contact was an email out of the blue from someone called Lizz who said she works with Jacqueline Wilson on the PR for her children's books,” Nikki said.

“This email explained that Jacqueline Wilson had a new book out called The Best Sleepover In The World and that she had dedicated it to Lucinda and I!

“The email explained the book had a character in it who was non-verbal and was a Makaton-user. She said that Jacqueline Wilson had wanted to do some research into Makaton for developing this character and had used our channel to do this.

“This email totally blew me away – a book dedicated to my girl! I am so, so proud of Lucinda; she is literally changing the world. To have a dedication in a book like this is beyond anything I could imagine, and to have Makaton out there in a mainstream book is just amazing.

“I later that day found a Netmums podcast where Jacqueline was being interviewed, and she actually named me and Lucinda. She actually said that she was 'besotted with Lucinda.”

The 77-year-old bestselling children’s novelist said by coming across Nikki and Lucinda’s channel helped her learn a lot about Makaton and served as inspiration for a character in her new book.

“I’ve recently written a book called The Best Sleepover In the World about two sisters, Daisy and Lily, who are determined to make their sleepover the best ever,” she said.

“Lily is non-verbal and uses a wheelchair, but now she’s learned Makaton at her new school she can communicate brilliantly, make jokes, and help her sister get the better of a nasty girl who’s plaguing her.

“I obviously had to learn a little Makaton myself and discovered the brilliant 'Makaton with Lucinda' videos on YouTube. 

 “I adore Lucinda and her lovely mum Nikki. They’ve taught me so much – and every single time I watch a quick clip I cheer myself up. All power to them – and the fantastic Uphill Village Academy and the Cabot Learning Federation.”

Nikki said Lucinda doesn’t realise how what a role model she has become.

“The most beautiful thing is Lucinda has no idea how amazing she is, or what she has achieved and inspired,” she added. 

“She just carries on sparkling and shining like the amazing little thing she is, and literally has no idea. I hope when she is older, she will understand what she has achieved and feel super proud. 

“I know without a single doubt in this world that I am proud of her – I could pop! She inspires everything I do, and I have found my dream job because of her.”