HE IS a cheeky chap who loves nothing more than to be the centre of attention.

And thanks to his chocolate brown eyes and his mischievous grin, all eyes are on little Aaron Ladher who has been crowned the Daily Echo’s Child of the Year 2013.

The three-year-old from Sholing, Southampton melted the hearts of the judging panel with his cheekiness that shone through the photograph taken by Fraser Portraits at the Marlands in Southampton.

Describing the moment she was given the news that her son had won the overall total, proud mum Kirsty Ladher said: “I was absolutely thrilled, we just couldn’t believe it.”

Kirsty and husband Gurvinder said their hopes of entering Aaron into the competition last year were dashed by a sudden bout of chickenpox.

Kirsty added: “When he came down with the chickenpox last year we had to abandon plans to enter him into the competition so it is just amazing that he has won it one year on.

“I’m his mum so I am biased but I just think he is absolutely lovely. He is a real cheeky chappie and he has everyone in stitches, laughing, he just loves to be the centre of attention.”

The family will now be presented with a package of prizes, including £200 of vouchers to spend at stores in The Marlands, Southampton, which has once again sponsored the competition.

Aaron will also receive an engraved glass bowl, a framed picture and certificate.

He beat competition from hundreds of other youngsters to make it through to the final after nearly 7,000 votes were cast. He then won his three to five years category, with Austin Griggs-Mangion coming second and Lukas Kemish-Hunt third.

Jay Woods was the winner of the 19 to 36 months category, with last year’s winner Melody Littlefair taking the runner-up spot and Amber Ashman- Rogers third.

Malaikah Jannat scooped the top prize in the ten to 18 months category, with Lexi Rush second and Alfie Rollinson third.

Lloyd Runnalls was the pick of the bunch in the 0 to nine months category, with Harry White second and Sonny-Lee Clouder third.

Aaron was then picked from all the category winners as the overall Child of the Year.

Each age category winner will receive £100 worth of Marlands vouchers, with the runners-up all receiving £50 worth of vouchers, while third placed youngsters will receive £25 worth of vouchers for the centre. All prize winners will receive a full colour canvas print and certificate.