Lennon’s thank-you message up in lights

Uplifting messages from children across the UK will light up the BT Tower in London for 12 days in the run up to Christmas, including a heartfelt one from a young girl in Belfast.

National family support charity Home-Start UK has teamed up with BT to share some of the wonderful messages received from young people thanking volunteers who supported their family during the pandemic.

Seven-year-old Lennon Falconer, whose family is supported by Home-Start East Belfast, is among 12 thank-you notes that will light up the tower. Her message said: “Our volunteer helps us with homework.”

Her mum Liza Buchanan, 32, said: “Home-Start made a big difference to us, so if we can help raise awareness about their amazing volunteers, then I will be happy.”

Lennon Falconer

Liza is a mum of four children aged nine, twins of seven, and three. The oldest Zach has global development delay and non-verbal autism, and the youngest was born with a heart condition.

Liza said: “Zach has always required a lot of care and attention. When Addison was born with a heart condition, I suddenly found myself split between two children with extensive needs. In amongst all this my twins got lost. I could just about manage their basic needs and every day I was racked with guilt that I wasn’t teaching them their colours, or helping them to count.

“Whatever I did during the day it just never seemed enough. I felt like I was failing the children. It wasn’t until Home-Start got involved that I saw how close I was to the edge.

“Whatever happens I know they are always on the end of a phone and will do whatever they can to help. This gives me a great sense of security and comfort.

“My volunteer Kristine is a teacher and helps the twins with their homework. This took so much pressure off me. It removed the guilt I felt about them being left behind. It also meant that any free time I had could be spent playing with them, and doing fun things.”

Peter Grigg, chief executive of Home-Start UK, said: “Home-Start wants to not only thank our volunteers who were there for our families when things got tough, but also to encourage people to make nice things happen for others this festive season.

“What better way to get this across than in giant letters on one of the most iconic landmarks in the capital and through the eyes of children.”

The BT Tower messages are designed to stop busy shoppers, residents and commuters in their tracks to take a moment to remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Lennon’s quote will be displayed from 9am to 5pm in a series of messages until December 17.