Stars coming out to help young patients

Nigel Talbot Rice at Oxford Children’s Hospital with a poster for the Dorchester Abbey Christmas Concert. Picture: OX55587 Ed Nix

Nigel Talbot Rice at Oxford Children’s Hospital with a poster for the Dorchester Abbey Christmas Concert. Picture: OX55587 Ed Nix Buy this photo

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Contact me on 01865 425422

STARS including Monty Python legend Michael Palin are supporting a special carol concert in aid of Oxford Children’s Hospital.

The Dorchester Abbey Christmas Concert takes place on Thursday, December 6, and will feature celebrity readers Mr Palin, Wendy Craig, Hannah Gordon and Sir Tim Rice, as well as a performance from the Winchester Cathedral Choir.

The concerts have become a fixture in the hospital’s fundraising calendar, with the previous three events raising more than £150,000.

The last concert was held two years ago. Previous celebrity readers have included Sue Lawley, Rory Bremner and Jason Donovan.

As well as the big names, Erin Brewer, eight, of Cromwell Road, Banbury, will also be giving a talk. Erin, who has cystic fibrosis, has been a patient at the hospital since she was born.

Her mum, Clare Boniface, 30, said her daughter didn’t have too many problems with the disease until she was five, when it started to severely affect her lungs.

She now has to have intensive two-week treatments every few months at the hospital, as well as having some surgery.

Miss Boniface said: “Despite everything, Erin really enjoys her time at the children’s hospital and has built up a great relationship with the staff, who go out of their way to make her happy.

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“We are incredibly indebted to the hospital for all the care they give Erin, so we are delighted to be able to support this Christmas concert by sharing a little of Erin’s story.

“Erin’s looking forward to it, even if she is a bit nervous.

“I have seen kids with all kinds of different conditions at the hospital and the treatment they are able to offer them is amazing.”

Erin recently returned from a holiday with Dreamflight, a registered UK charity that changes young lives through taking seriously ill and disabled children on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida, which happened thanks to a nomination from her physiotherapist at the hospital.

Nigel Talbot Rice, chairman of the committee organising the concert, said: “I know Tim Rice and Michael Palin personally and we are most fortunate that, as well as Wendy Craig and Hannah Gordon, they also have agreed to be with us.”

Children’s Hospital fundraiser Penny Hambridge said: “The Dorchester concerts are exceptional events that have raised huge sums of money.

“Thanks to them we have been able to purchase some really exciting equipment including state-of-the-art incubators and specialist equipment that helps very sick babies to go through the MRI scanner without being moved from their incubator.”

  • Tickets for the event range from £25 to £75 — to book call 01865 743444 or email charity@ouh.nhs.uk

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