To celebrate our 6th birthday in April, we were hugely fortunate to have a very special visit to GOSH with Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, who spent time meeting and chatting to children and their families.
We also had some special entertainer visits at GOSH, St Mary’s and the Royal London hospitals where we gave out walking pet balloons. The children loved choosing their favourite balloon animal to be their new pet. There were purple elephants, cute dogs and magical unicorns brightening up the wards and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. We also did a present drop to children at University College Hospital. We were also lucky enough to have a visit to GOSH by Eddie Redmayne who helped us spread even more smiles!
As the charity marks another anniversary, co-founders Josephine and Vanessa reflect on the last 6 years: “We are very proud of how Spread a Smile has grown. We have loved watching it develop and we are very grateful to our amazing team of wonderful entertainers that has made it possible.
“Six years ago, we started by making just 2 visits a month to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Now we make 21 visits a month to 5 different hospitals, and are able to entertain over 500 patients each month. We feel very privileged that we are in a position to entertain so many inspirational families.
“When we founded Spread a Smile, we didn’t realise how much the charity would be needed. We’re particularly pleased we’ve been able to respond to that need, and in ways we didn’t anticipate at the outset.
“We’ve come to realise how important it is to include siblings in our entertainment, particularly by creating positive memories of VIP days out to the theatre and concerts that give the families something uplifting to talk about during a time dominated by hospital treatment.
“We have also been able to provide special visits that have been requested by our hospital partners for specific occasions such as parties or for particularly ill children. Our hospital partners know and understand the difference we make and that we can be relied on when extra entertainment is needed.
“We are so proud to be part of the Spread a Smile team and so excited to see where it grows from here. Here’s to another six years!”
Thanks to Walking Pet Balloons for the brilliant balloons. And we wish to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated staff we work with in our partnered hospitals; the fabulous volunteers who help with events; our talented entertainers who spread smiles; the amazing corporate partners who help us achieve so much more; the indefatigable office team; and, of course, all of you supporters and fundraisers without whom we couldn’t have got this far!