Spread a Smile Co-Founders receive their MBEs

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Earlier this week, Spread a Smile’s amazing Co-Founders, Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker visited Buckingham Palace to receive their MBE awards. They were presented with them by Anne, Princess Royal, having been awarded them for services to seriously and terminally ill children and their families in The King’s 2024 New Year Honours.

Josephine and Vanessa started Spread a Smile 11 years ago, after seeing the positive impact a magician’s visit had on Josephine’s 9-year-old nephew, Aaron, whilst he was having cancer treatment in Great Ormond Street Hospital. Since then, the charity has grown significantly and is now the country’s leading provider of hospital entertainment for children and teenagers. Both remain actively involved, working closely with the team of Spread a Smile entertainers, making regular visits to children in hospital and joining family events.

Josephine and Vanessa said, “We are so proud to have accepted our MBEs on behalf of

the team at Spread a Smile who make our work possible and on behalf of all the incredible and inspirational children and families we have met over the years.

“Visiting Buckingham Palace was an experience we will never forget, made even more special doing it alongside our own families, who have been a constant source of support and motivation over the years. 

“It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to tell Princess Anne about our work, why we started the charity and why what we do is so important.

“We believe deeply in the work of Spread a Smile and we promise to continue to do everything we can to spread smiles, laughter and positive memories when they are needed the most.”

Lucy Jackson, Chief Executive at Spread a Smile said, “I feel truly honoured to work alongside two such inspirational women. Nothing is too much trouble for Josephine and Vanessa. They exude kindness and compassion and are completely committed to spreading smiles and bringing love and comfort into the lives of seriously ill children and their families. I am so incredibly proud of them and can’t think of two people more deserving of this honour.”

Read on to find out more about Spread a Smile, how we are making a difference to the families we support and how you can get involved.