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12 Blogs of Charities

Last year in the run up to Christmas, I took to Facebook Live for 12 consecutive days and shared songs, signing, body percussion and other musical skills in a rather lighthearted series. This year, I want to tell you about 12 charities that I care an enormous amount about. I'm posting a blog a day over the 12 days leading to Christmas to celebrate each of them individually but here is my one hit homage to them all! 
@GeorgeandtheGiantPledge @MomentumChildrensCharity @RenewedHope @MissingPeopleChoir @HappyBabyCommnity @Loveworks @HomeStartEastSurrey @StripeyStork @TeamVerrico @InfinitySpaceToGrow and last but not least, my second family, @Include.org 

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George And The Giant Pledge

The Woodall family have become a part of the local conversation, unflinchingly sharing the details of George’s heartwrenching journey and his family’s trajectory from normality to the terrifying circumstances they found themselves in.  But almost immediately, their story turned outwards and became a support for all children in this situation by creating their charity and painstakingly raising money for all children with cancer through their partnership with the @RoyalMarsden. I watched the video of Vicki’s London Marathon run just now when I searched for it and it brought a tear to my eye all over again:



– that impassioned plea for donations on the side of the road with Radzi helped smash their million pound target back in 2019. They went on to become finalists at the Pride of Britain awards and their total raised now stands at just over £2 million, an incredible achievement by one family! And every penny is vital – the research, treatment and care provided by the Royal Marsden is ongoing and more is always needed, “because no child should ever have to have their childhood taken from them in this terrible way.”


It might not come even close to a marathon but the women of the Unison choir will take to the streets of Reigate tomorrow evening and will sing their hearts out, because we all know George and his family’s story, we follow the family’s posts and are devastated whenever we’ve learned of the harrowing  final consequences of childhood cancer. And also because it’s Christmas and because this is something we can do. We can’t cure cancer but we can sing and do our bit to raise money for those who are trying to cure it - and your help would be greatly appreciated! Check out our route and come and give us a tune challenge! We’re not keen on Stop The Cavalry, sorry!

                                                                                                Momentum Children’s Charity

Momentum Children’s Charity supports families who might be going through a similar experience to those that yesterday’s blog charity, @GeorgeandtheGiantPledge also help – but where the Royal Marsden is providing the science and treatment, Momentum provides the heart -and what a big heart this charity has! 

I received an email out of the blue back in June to ask if I’d be interested in joining their team of musicians - these music therapists and early years music practitioners make home visits and deliver sessions in hospitals and centres where seriously ill children and their families benefit from a range of services they provide, including all round family support, a range of art therapies as well as trips and events for families to enjoy.  They also have partnerships with hospitals which led to the start of a monthly visit to the children’s ward at @EastSurreyHospital for me. Here is my article about my experience of doing these visits, which started in July. 



I was already used to going to East Surrey to provide music through an initiative set up between the East Surrey patient experience team and Include.org. Their CEO Alix also led the @SASH choir in the hospital in those carefree pre-covid days or yore! We used to visit the dementia wards and sing, play guitar and sign, which was a moving and rewarding experience. 


Momentum’s work at East Surrey Hospital is an invaluable help to the families who have the unfortunate experience of being regulars on the children’s ward. Kerrie, Momentum’s support worker at ESH knows everyone by name and when we do our round, she is speaking to and sharing information with parents, while I gesticulate and sing daft songs to raise a giggle from a poorly little one, or get them to join me in a funny version of The Wheels on the Bus. She is on call to provide a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, some guidance or clarity on situations and to ensure that the whole family is feeling heard and seen, through the most difficult of times. 


It’s a sobering session but I think it’s the best use of my skills that I could think of.  If music can help brighten anyone’s day, I’m hoping to continue making my tiny contribution where a little smile goes a long way and I’d like to thank Momentum for giving me that opportunity. If you’d like to learn more about this wonderful Surrey based charity please visit their website or donate here:


Renewed Hope


Renewed Hope Singers performance premiere….


Their fabulous multi-choired fundraising day at the Belfry had to be called off amid the new measures the shopping centre felt were necessary.  Totally understandable but sad to not get a chance to show off what we’ve been practising in front of the general public, and to support this charity. Based at Shrewsbury Chapel, I’ve got to know the Renewed Hope gang pretty well, having first helped at their Saturday lunch time drop in sessions throughout lockdown. I remember those warm days walking to the chapel and helping the volunteers prepare meals for people who used their services, each a character, each with their stories and problems and each grateful and glad of the company, food and help being offered. Now that winter has arrived, the sheltered help is needed more than ever, but the lack of fundraising opportunities is hitting hard again, with Covid affecting yet another season. Charities have found the pandemic such a hard time, with the paradox of increased demand and reduced funding. 


I feel rather spoilt the Renewed Hope Singers is predominantly male (I'm used to women choir members) and there are some really rather good singers in the mix. R has been particularly good and taking on the Shane McGowan intro of Fairytale of New York seemed very apt for him. “I’ve lived that song,” he said, when I first suggested it.  There have been a couple of women service users who were initially refused to be in the same room, who then sat silently while we rehearsed but are now fully fledged participants and it’s been really nice to see that journey and seeing them overcome any issues or hang ups they might have had. The lovely staff and volunteers have been so supportive and dedicated to learning the songs and doing their best and it’s been a privilege to guide them through the rehearsals.  In you’d like to help fund our continued rehearsals and of course all the essential work Renewed Hope do all year round please visit      to make a donation.