13/12/2010 – This year, No 11 Downing Street hosted a very special Christmas party with Starlight Children’s Foundation for fifty children with serious and terminal illnesses. The children were invited by Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Starlight to a spectacular tea party in the state rooms, which had been transformed to mirror the magical world of Alice in Wonderland for the afternoon.
After passing through that well-known doorway, the children were guided in to a captivating winter scene, where they were greeted by a host of Christmas characters and decorations. The Chancellor of the Exchequer welcomed the children and their families to Downing Street and wished them a happy Christmas, before encouraging them to tuck in to the magnificent afternoon tea provided.
Father Christmas took down each of the children’s special Christmas wishes, while face painters and entertainers created fun and excitement amongst the young guests. The laughter and excited chatter temporarily halted as Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud, footballer Jermain Defoe, screen siren Patsy Kensit and recent I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here winner Stacey Solomon entered the room but immediately they too were enjoying the festive games and music with the children. Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Reindeer Pluto were also on hand to provide some festive fun for all the young guests.
One little girl who attended was Ella Taylor from Hampshire. Ella is eight years old and she has cystic fibrosis, which is a life-shortening genetic disease affecting the major organs of the body, especially the lungs. Ella’s mum Sharon recalls the invitation arriving the day after Ella’s much loved granddad passed away so it came as a welcome distraction from the grief of their loss. When she showed her daughter the invitation, “her smile said it all” and Ella immediately began planning what to wear.
Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud, said: “It was a real honour to attend such a wonderful party and to meet some of Starlight’s very special kids. It was amazing to have such a noisy party in such a prestigious venue. We had great fun.”
Nicola Roberts, also from Girls Aloud, added: “It was not just an opportunity for the kids to escape and have fun but it was also a chance for the parents to meet other families with similar difficulties and take time out from their testing day-to-day routines.”
Neil Swan, Chief Executive of Starlight Children’s Foundation, commented: “Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for families with a very poorly child and, on behalf of Starlight, I want to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his team at No 11 Downing Street for their exceptional hospitality. Their generosity, hard work and effort have brought some very happy memories to some very deserving families this Christmas.”
Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231
Starlight grants a once-in-a-lifetime wish for seriously and terminally ill children, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and giving the whole family happy memories to share, whatever the future holds.
Starlight also creates entertainment in every hospital and hospice throughout the UK. Sick children go to Starlight parties, laugh their way through pantomimes, go out on Starlight Escapes, play games and watch films on the Starlight Fun Centre, and enjoy the toys and puzzles of the Starlight Distraction Box. Happy children respond better to treatment and Starlight helps children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.
You can make a donation online or by calling us on 020 7262 2881. For every £1 you donate, Starlight can assure you that 91p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.