Starlight Children’s Foundation hosted a series of summer events for seriously ill children and their families across the UK. The children’s charity, which provides support to families through extensive hospital entertainment and wish granting, held a total of five Starlight Escapes to give children and young people with serious and lifelong conditions some much-needed time away from their hospital beds and treatment.
The Escape season kicked off in June with two boating parties at Sonning and Hampton Court. Here children got dressed up in pirate gear and enjoyed a host of pirate themed games, including walking the plank, before families set off on a real pirate adventure down the River Thames.
The next memorable day out was the charity’s Sky-High event at Preston Capes in Northamptonshire. Both children and their families from the surrounding areas, enjoyed the thrill of helicopter rides, plus rides on a vintage bus, fire engine and tractors when back on the ground.
Sam Hines, mum to Starlight wish child Brandon who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy said ‘It was the most enjoyable day we’ve ever had, the lads absolutely loved it, especially the helicopter ride.
It was amazing from start to finish. We struggle to get both boys out and about due to them both being in wheelchairs, but everyone was so helpful. It was so refreshing for us all to get out as a family and make memories. It will definitely be a day we won’t forget”.
Starlight then held their annual Summer Party at Belmont Farm in London on one of the hottest days of the year at the end of July. The outdoor fete-style party has become a much-loved day out for Starlight wish children and their families, as well as families from local hospitals and hospices.
The jam-packed day included clay pigeon shooting, an animal petting area and pony and trap rides to arts and crafts, a bouncy castle and fete games.
The charity then rounded off their summer of fun with their biggest event of the year at Popham Airfield in Winchester. The event, which was attended by almost 700 people, included helicopter and aeroplane rides at what was an unforgettable day of adrenaline fuelled action!
The fun didn’t stop back on solid ground, with pony rides, magicians, entertainers, face-painters and rides on some very special motorbikes and supercars. The day also finished with Starlight’s first ever ‘Floss off’ with children, families, volunteers and staff all taking to the dance floor to show off their best moves!
Starlight’s Escapes are supported by volunteers, who offer their time, expertise and vehicles to create a truly special day for the families. The events have become crucial days out for families with seriously ill children, as they provide them with the opportunity to spend memorable days together at a time when they need it the most.
Roberto’s mum, who attended the boating escape at The Upper Thames Yacht Club at Hampton Court, sums up the Starlight Escape experience as;
“Days like today are a great moment to pause and remember the gift of being a family, to have
time together that isn’t about trips to hospital, needles or bad stuff. They really are ‘respite days’ – a way in which to escape and feel a million miles away from the normal stuff”.
For more information and to find out how you can help Starlight provide more days out for seriously ill children and their families visit www.starlight.org.uk