Supporting NI Children’s Hospice

Singer George Hutton with representatives from the NI Children's Hospice and Sam McBride from Ballymena who has received care there
Singer George Hutton with representatives from the NI Children's Hospice and Sam McBride from Ballymena who has received care there
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Every year, the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice cares for over 300 life limited children and young people, and their families living across the province who need care that only this specially dedicated facility can provide.

Receiving the diagnosis that your child is life-limited can be devastating news for families. Emotionally and practically their lives are turned upside down as their child’s illness progresses.

The Children’s Hospice aim to make it as easy as possible for local families to access the care and support they need. Thanks to the generosity of local people, the hospice can provide a lifeline to kids with life-limiting conditions.

Care is provided in the child’s own home and in the Children’s Hospices in Newtownabbey.

Each year it costs £3.82m to run this regional service. The facility relies heavily on the public to raise £2.3m through donations and fundraising events. Every pound donated or raised, makes a real difference to local kids and their families.

Children’s Hospice Week, which runs until June 23, is the only week in the year dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s hospices and palliative care services across the UK, and the seriously ill children and young people they support. These services are a lifeline for families when they’re facing the toughest of times, and they can’t continue their vital work without your support.

The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Moments that matter’ and ogranisations across the UK are teaming up with families and professionals to shine a light on services that help families create special memories and important moments in their lives together.

From their first family swim in a hospice hydrotherapy pool, to the more poignant times where hospices support families with kindness and care, by showcasing the moments that matter the hope is to challenge the misconception that hospices are dark and gloomy places, instead showing them as vital support systems that help families make the most of their time together.

There are 49,000 children in the UK living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, and that number is growing. Many of these children have complex health conditions and need round the clock care. The 54 children’s hospice services across the UK - including the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice - play a vital role in helping these families stay afloat, giving them a break from caring responsibilities, providing specialist clinical care and providing a range of practical and emotional support for all the family.

You can donate during Children’s Hospice Week to support children’s hospice services across the UK.

International tenor George Hutton, 31, from Londonderry, perhaps best known for appearing on BBC One talent show All Together Now alongside former Spice Girl Geri Horner, is set to do his bit to support the hospice by holding two fundraising concerts at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine tonight (June 20) and at Roddensvale School, Larne on June 22.

The shows will see pupils from Sandleford Special Shool, Coleraine, Jordanstown School Makaton Choir and Roddensvale Special School in Larne take part by joining George on stage to sing.

He was moved to hold these fundraising concerts after witnessing the incredible level of care given to his friend. George has visited the hospice on many different occasions and has much to say about its vital services.

“Back in 2012 I raised £1500 for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in memory of my friend Brian McKeever who died of leukaemia when he was 17. He was an up-and- coming sportsman and to see his talent, his ambition and his future be taken away from him like that and at such a young age had a profound impact on me. I think I feel as though with my own career having taken off as a performer and with being inspired by Brian’s own ambition, I owe him something in return, for the motivation that I gained from him, and performing for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice is a part of that.

“The work the hospice does is just unbelievable. Somebody in my life, a good friend, died, and they did an incredible job of looking after him. You look at these kids from no age up to 13, 14, 15 that are in end of life care and it’s harrowing. You meet some of these kids and they’re beautiful children that have nothing but optimism in their eyes, they complain about absolutely nothing, and so I jumped at the chance to help.

“When you see the suffering of innocent children it puts everything else into perspective. The hospice is giving these children hope where they have none. I have had great opportunities, fulfilled some of my musical ambitions, and the reality is that a lot of these kids will not get the chance to fulfil their dreams and aspirations. This is a bit of fun for these children, some of whom will be performing with me on stage.

“These children deserve love and fun. People need to be more aware of the excellent work the hospice does. And it needs fundraising events like ours to keep its services going.”

Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice regional fundraiser Catherine O’Hara added: “I would like to sincerely thank George Hutton and his team for taking such a heartfelt interest in the work of the Children’s Hospice and for taking time to meet families who receive our care. The programme for these evenings has been planned and hours of practice are ongoing for these very special concerts which will highlight specialist palliative care services during this National Children’s Hospice week. We are beyond delighted that these wonderful students will be performing on stage with George. Proceeds from this show will help us to maintain a unique service of specialist care for our life limited and life threatened children and young people in the Newtownabbey area and across Northern Ireland. With over £3.82 million needed every year, nights like these are a lifeline to our charity and the families who need our care. We appreciate every penny.”

lTickets to see George Hutton perform at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine tonight (June 20) and at the Roddensvale School, Larne on June 22 can be booked online at www.wegottickets.com/event/471103.

If you would like more information on how you can support Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice or buy a ticket for the show you can also contact Catherine O’Hara on 07515 06 3303 or email catherine.ohara@nihospice.org.