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Spread a Smile Golf Days a huge success

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Last week we celebrated our 3rd annual Golf Days at the stunning Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, welcoming an amazing 36 teams of four-balls across two days of golf.

The sun shone as the teams took on the 18-hole Palmerston Course, with Spread a Smile entertainers dotted around the course to cheer everyone on. Our magicians wowed our golfers with a little bit of magic, Judge the Poet was on hand with a bit of spontaneous poetry and our musicians Collette and Andy sang and played, making everyone smile with their personalised dedications.

Once the score sheets were in, guests enjoyed a lovely three course meal in the club house, followed by prize giving and a raffle, with Spread a Smile Chief Executive Lucy Jackson sharing a little bit about how our golfers will help to make a huge difference to the families we support.

Neil Taylor, Managing Director at Opticore IT said, “The organisation of the Spread a Smile Golf Day is always exceptional and the cause itself surpasses everything; it resonates with every person that attends. Having so many people in one place having a great time with a shared intention of making a difference is great see, it continues to bring people back year after year.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our teams for joining us and for helping to raise vital funds to spread smiles to the seriously ill children we support.

Also, to Opticore IT for sponsoring the water bottles, Elaine and Andrew Jaye for sponsoring the raffle, Activit Drinks for their generous donation of 200 cans of Tropical Boost Sparkling Water and Olly’s for kindly donating pretzels and olives for the golfers to enjoy on the course.

Please do get in touch with Rosie at if you would like to find out more about joining our 2024 Golf Days and our exciting sponsorship opportunities.

Introducing our Real Estate Committee

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We are proud to announce the launch of our new Real Estate Committee, created to explore new avenues to help us raise funds and awareness for the children and families we support.

The Real Estate Committee is a first for Spread a Smile. Chaired by Shaun Simons, Founder of Compton, the Committee brings together key industry figures; Richard Fine and Dan Uzan, Brotherton, alongside James Lass, Swiss Life Asset Managers, Michael Mirelman, GRE Finance and Chris Davies, CEO, Uncommon.

Prior to the unveiling of the Committee, Compton has already hosted two very well-attended dinners at their restaurant, with a guestlist from the real estate world. The dinner was a brilliant networking opportunity raising important funds to support Spread a Smile’s work, providing in-hospital and virtual entertainment for critically ill children and their families. The idea for the dinners was conceived following a meeting between Lucy Jackson, the charity’s Chief Executive and Shaun Simons, Founder of Compton, who specialise in commercial office leasing & investment.

Collectively the group will create opportunities to raise awareness and vital funds for the charity, via a programme of intimate events and industry dinners, at which guests will learn all about the crucial support that Spread a Smile provides.

Shaun Simons said of his role, “I was blown away when I first learned of the work that Spread a Smile does.  They are an amazingly unique charity and the support they provide really resonated with me from the very first introduction.  My son, who is now 10, was born 4 months premature and together with my wife, we spent over 5 months in various hospitals whilst he received urgent care. Having had significant exposure to many children’s wards I can really understand the importance of the service Spread a Smile provides.

“I have worked in the property industry for 23 years, it’s an amazingly social industry filled with great people. I have formed a strong and widespread network and along with my fellow committee members, I’m confident we can help raise the profile of the charity. I’m sure we will have amazing support from the property industry, a sector that currently knows very little about what the charity provides and the joy they can bring to those struggling. 

Shaun added, “I simply could not refuse the Chair position and I’m really flattered to be asked, and am eager to get stuck in, personally and professionally.  The wider Compton team will also work closely with the Committee, and will be supporting our plans across the Compton brand platforms to further spotlight the incredibly important work Spread a Smile do.”

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile’s Chief Executive said “I’m so looking forward to working with Shaun and the rest of the committee. I’m incredibly grateful to all of them for giving up their time and making important introductions to support our work and raise funds and awareness. This will enable Spread a Smile to continue to deliver our work and support new hospitals, spreading smiles to seriously ill children and their families when they need it the most.”

The Committee’s 2023 programme will deliver two events; invite only dinners with engaging speakers and entertainment. The ambition is to bolster this with more events, plus open them out further inviting members from within the wider property community to get involved, all in an attempt to further raise the Spread a Smile charity.

To find out more about the Committee or how your company could get involved with supporting Spread a Smile, please email Lucy Keith at Read more about our Real Estate Committee members here.

New weekend visits to GOSH

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Weekends often mean much quieter wards and less distraction and activities available for seriously ill children and young people receiving treatment in hospital. Time can go very slowly, particularly for those spending time in isolation in their own room.

Which is why Spread a Smile recently started weekend visits to patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Laura Walter, Director of Services for Spread a Smile said, “We are so excited to now be offering a monthly Saturday visit at GOSH. We know from speaking to families that it can be difficult to pass the time in hospital over the weekends, and the days can seem long and monotonous. Weekends can also be an added challenge for families, who are torn between home and hospital. At Spread a Smile, we want to provide as many play opportunities to children and young people as possible, and we recognise that play doesn’t stop at the weekend.”

For September, Spread a Smile Visit Manager Debbie, along with Sar and her guitar worked closely with the GOSH Play Team to visit some of the long term babies and toddlers on the wards, bringing  music, instruments and song. It was lovely to receive some fantastic feedback after the visit from staff and parents of patients saying how beneficial and much appreciated the interactions were.

Each month, the visit will focus on a different theme, bringing a variety of exciting activities and sessions over the weekends, with a special LEGO play visit following in October.

Thank you to our generous donors and supporters for enabling us to continue our vital work supporting seriously ill children and their families when they need it most.


Jenna Coleman spreads smiles at BGC Charity Day

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Spread a Smile is delighted to have been chosen as a beneficiary charity for the 19th annual BGC Charity Day yesterday.

The fundraiser takes place every year on September 11th to raise money in memory of the brokerage’s 658 colleagues and 61 Eurobrokers employees who tragically lost their lives in the World Trade Centre attacks on 9/11. 100% of BGC Group’s global revenues on the day will be donated to charities around the world, including Spread a Smile.

Photo Credit: Dave Benett

It was a very special day, and we are extremely grateful that BAFTA-nominated British actor Jenna Coleman joined us to represent Spread a Smile on the trading floor at BGC Group, hitting the phones to help raise vital funds for charitable causes alongside a host of other celebrities.

“Spread a Smile is an incredible charity which brings much needed laughter and happiness to seriously ill children in hospital. I’m proud to represent them at the BGC Charity Day and have had a wonderful afternoon on the trading floor and meeting some of the inspirational families the charity supports, along with some very talented Spread a Smile entertainers. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I hope that we’ve managed to raise lots of much needed awareness and funds to help ensure they can continue to share the Spread a Smile magic.” Jenna Coleman

We were also delighted that some of the families we support, along with our talented entertainers were also invited for this exciting day out at the BGC office, with treats and lots of fun and games along the way.

Spread a Smile does not receive any government funding and needs to raise £1.4million each year to continue to deliver our services spreading joy and laughter up and down the country. Support from amazing companies and individuals like BGC Group and Jenna will make a huge impact, raising much needed funds and awareness and helping us to spread even more smiles to seriously ill children, young people and their families when they need it most.

“We are so grateful to be benefitting from this year’s BGC Charity Day. Funds raised will support our work, bringing much-needed joy and laughter to critically ill children in hospital. We also owe a huge thank you to Jenna Coleman who represented Spread a Smile on the day and was joined by some inspirational families who have been supported by Spread a Smile.” Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive.

Thank you to Jenna Coleman and her team, our families and entertainers and everyone at BGC Group for all their hard work and for inviting Spread a Smile to be part of this wonderful initiative.

Every Pack Gives Back with McVitie’s BN biscuits

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We are delighted to announce that McVitie’s has partnered with Spread a Smile, supporting the charity through its iconic McVitie’s BN biscuits. The partnership is a perfect fit, as the BN biscuit is well-known for its smiley face.

Not only have McVitie’s BN donated to help fund Spread a Smile’s work supporting seriously ill children in hospital, they are also including the charity’s branding and details of the partnership on in store media to raise awareness of the work we do under their ‘Every Pack Gives Back’ messaging.

McVitie’s BN biscuits made a triumphant return to shelves in January 2022, allowing fans the chance to once again ‘taste the smile’.

The first wave of the ‘Every Pack Gives Back campaign’ supporting Spread a Smile appeared in Asda stores across the country back in May 2023. A second burst of activity is planned for September, reaching into even more major retailers, including Sainsbury’s.

The return of the BN biscuits jingle “BN BN, do doo do doo-do” across several radio stations this month is also helping to raise awareness of the partnership with Spread a Smile.

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive said, “Our partnership with McVitie’s BN is an exciting opportunity for Spread a Smile. This year, our aim is to spread smiles to even more seriously ill children and their families in more hospitals and thanks to the financial support and brand awareness provided by McVitie’s, we’ll be able to do just that. We are extremely grateful to them for sharing their BN smile with us.” 

Aslı Özen Turhan, Chief Marketing Officer at pladis UK&I said: We at McVitie’s BN are proud to support Spread a Smile with the incredible work they do bringing joy to thousands of seriously ill children in hospitals and hospices across the UK. We hope the partnership with BN helps continue to bring smiles to those who need it most.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to McVitie’s BN for their support and helping us to spread smiles far and wide.

Please get in touch with Amanda Azouz if you or your company are interested in supporting Spread a Smile and making a difference to seriously ill children in hospital. Thank you

A VIP family outing to London Zoo

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What a way to end the Summer! Last week we were joined by 18 of the families we support for a very special trip to London Zoo, with VIP access to visit the zoo and exclusive access to the Mappin Pavilion overlooking the emu and wallaby enclosure.

The sun shone and our families enjoyed a wonderful day visiting the animals before enjoying a delicious lunch with yummy cupcakes from our friends at Lola’s Cupcakes. Our guests were also able to choose their own ice creams and toppings from their very own ice cream truck.

Our outings are a brilliant way for seriously ill children and their families to enjoy a day out, away from hospital and the worries and stress of serious illness. As usual, some of the Spread a Smile entertainers joined in the fun including Mr Magic and Paul our magicians, Fairy Betty and Marina and Eva on face painting.

“Thank you so much for today. The children have been really fed up as they have been in hospital for 5 weeks now and were feeling pretty low the last few days. It’s really done them the world of good to get out. Exhausted but happy! We really appreciate it.” Parent

The outing was made possible thanks to generous support from our partners, Downing LLP who sponsored the day. We were also joined on the day by 10 volunteers from Downing who helped run arts and crafts activities for the children and their siblings.

“Being a part of the Zoo experience and seeing first-hand the difference Spread a Smile is making for these families is extraordinary. The children and their families are going through so much, so for them to have an enjoyable break for a whole day was a truly lovely and grounding experience for us to be a part of. Thank you to Spread a Smile for including us, we look forward to supporting them again in the future!” Downing

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the families who joined us, Downing for supporting this wonderful event, Lola’s Cupcakes and everyone at London Zoo for their kindness and making the day so special.

To find out more about our family events, please click here.

The Magic Circle recognises Spread a Smile

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Every year, The Magic Circle recognises leading magicians who have made significant contributions to the art of magic, including top performers, historians, authors, and those who have served the magic community. Their ‘Martin Chapender Award’ recognises services to the community using magic and celebrates the power of magic to have a positive effect on all who experience it.

This year Spread a Smile is delighted and proud to be the chosen as the recipient for the Martin Chapender Award, following in the footsteps of previous winners, Breathe AHR, who use magic as a form of physiotherapy, and The College of Magic, who use it to empower disadvantaged children.

Megan Swann, President of The Magic Circle said, “As a performance art, magic is designed to bring joy to those who watch, which is also what makes it such a powerful tool for community work. I am delighted to recognise the truly magical work Spread a Smile does to bring joy young people at their most difficult times, with this year’s Martin Chapender award for services to the community using magic.”

Last night, Spread a Smile co-founders Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker joined The Magic Circle for a special Awards ceremony and to receive their award, saying,

“It is an absolute honour for Spread a Smile to receive The Magic Circle, Martin Chapender Award, in recognition of the incredible work our magicians do every day spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people in hospital and at home. Thank you to The Magic Circle for shining a light on the role of our Spread a Smile magic across hospital wards up and down the country.”

Spread a Smile’s team of 17 amazing magicians regularly visit seriously ill children and young people in hospital, bringing the wonder, distraction and fun of magic directly onto the wards of our 27 NHS hospital partners. Our magicians also deliver virtual sessions, enabling us to reach even more children across the country in groups or at home.

Magic has always played a key role in Spread a Smile’s work and the charity was founded in 2013 by Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker after seeing the positive impact a magician’s visit had on Josephine’s young nephew, Aaron, during his treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Aaron had become increasingly withdrawn, so Josephine arranged for a magician to visit and it had the most remarkable effect: Aaron’s spirits were lifted and his treatment became more bearable. As a result, Aaron asked if magicians could also visit friends that he’d met on the ward, but hospital regulations made this impossible. Undeterred, Josephine promised Aaron she would find a way to make it happen. She teamed up with friend and former colleague Vanessa Crocker and working closely with GOSH, they founded Spread a Smile.

Ten years on and we haven’t looked back, with magic remaining a core part of our work, bringing so much fun and enjoyment to the families we support. As one parent said,

“Jack loved Mr Magic and all the Spread a Smile magicians. The consistency of seeing them in different hospitals really helped him to cope with his illness and treatment. During Proton Beam Therapy, we stay away from home for over 6 weeks and feel really isolated. Our Spread a Smile visits helped us to meet other families and really gave us something to look forward to.”

To find out more about Spread a Smile’s work supporting seriously ill children and their families across the UK, read on here.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a time to highlight the impact cancer has on children, young people and their families.

Each year, Spread a Smile’s team of therapeutic entertainers support hundreds of children, young people and their families, battling all kinds of serious illnesses. Cancer is one of them.

Around 12 children and young people in the UK will find out the devastating news that they have cancer every day, which marks the beginning of a difficult path navigating hospital admissions, invasive treatments, pain and horrible side effects, and ongoing worry and uncertainty.

Spread a Smile’s mission is to be there for as many young people and their families as possible, bringing joy, fun, laughter, distraction, and friendship during some of the most difficult times. Young people like Hannah who in 2022 was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of soft tissue sarcoma (cancer).

Andrea, Hannah’s Mum said, “We discovered Spread a Smile whilst waiting for proton beam therapy in the hospital playroom. There was a notice on the wall saying that Spread a Smile would be visiting with a therapy dog, so we asked to change Hannah’s treatment time to coincide with their visit. 

“We met Laura from the charity who explained what Spread a Smile does and how they could support Hannah. Laura was so kind, asking Hannah what she was interested in and listening to her and what she had to say. We realised that Hannah really enjoyed art and so she started weekly art classes in hospital with Abi, one of the Spread a Smile artists. Hannah also loved meeting the magicians and therapy dogs – Buddy, Harry, Thomas and Choco!

“It was such a good thing for both of us – throwing balls for the dogs, having cuddles, learning magic tricks and creating something in art. Hannah would become very poorly whilst on chemotherapy, so we weren’t allowed home at weekends and spent six weeks away from home and family in London. Meeting Spread a Smile would break up the week and give Hannah (and me) so many moments of laughter, happiness and enjoyment.  

“Instead of just turning up at the exact time for our appointments, we would arrive at hospital first thing for when Spread a Smile arrived, so we could spend as much time as possible with them. Hannah didn’t want to miss a thing! It gave her a sense of purpose and meant a huge amount to both of us.

“Spread a Smile also invited us on an outing to afternoon tea at Mildreds restaurant in London – which was brilliant. It was a chance for us to have a day out together, in amongst all the treatment and hospital stuff. We were able to relax and breathe for a while.”

“Since coming home, we are so lucky that Hannah has been able to continue her art classes every other week over Zoom. The classes are a way of her being with other people – friends now – who don’t treat her differently because of her illness. She is Hannah the person, not the illness. She looks forward to the sessions as she is listened to and valued. She has choices and independence which is hugely important when your life feels like it’s controlled by something like cancer.

“Spread a Smile has made a huge difference to Hannah, making life just a bit more manageable.”

Thank you to everyone who makes the work we do spreading smiles to young people like Hannah possible. Click here to find out more about our work across the UK.

Please get in touch if you would like to access our services here.

Reaching more patients virtually

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Spread a Smile’s mission is to bring joy to as many seriously ill children and young people across the country. Thanks to a generous donation of 10 iPads and cases from CJC IT we’ll now be able to reach even more of the most vulnerable patients, carrying out virtual visits in hospitals when face-to-face visits aren’t possible.

Some hospitalised patients are not able to meet our team in person due to infection risk, for example, if they are severely immunocompromised and at a greater risk of serious infection. Spread a Smile Visit Managers will take an iPad with them to our NHS hospital partners and safely pass the iPad to a seriously ill patient so they can meet the Spread a Smile entertainers virtually and enjoy the magic and distraction that they bring.

Spread a Smile Director of Services, Laura Walter said, “When a child is seriously ill, sometimes they might spend weeks or even months isolated from the world around them, not able to do things that other children are doing or see many people other than medical staff. Thanks to the generous gift of iPads from CJC IT, Spread a Smile will be able to reach some of the most vulnerable and seriously ill children and young people, providing moments of comfort and joy during one of the most difficult times of their lives.”

Some of the iPads will also be donated to our hospitals so that Play Teams and staff can access our wider virtual visits and group sessions with their patients when we are not there in person.

Paul Gow, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at CJC said, “Seeing the impact of Spread a Smile first-hand last year really touched me, personally and as a company, CJC is committed and strongly supports the welfare and children’s wellbeing.” He adds, “Many of CJC’s staff are actively volunteering and raising money in support of Spread a Smile, for example, Tough Mudder London next month.”

A huge thank you to CJC IT for their wonderful support and for helping us to spread even more smiles when they are needed most.

Please get in touch with us at to find out how you or your company can help spread smiles across the UK.

*As always, Spread a Smile will work with the hospital team to adhere to strict infection control procedures, wiping down and sterilising the iPad in between patients.

Building our partnership with the LEGO Group

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Since beginning our partnership with the LEGO Group last year, we’ve seen some wonderful initiatives take place for our families, including a special LEGO® build for our 10th anniversary dinner centre pieces and a brilliant LEGO® Masterclass last year as part of their ‘Build the Change’ program.

More recently Spread a Smile’s entertainers and Visit Managers took part in a special Play Agent workshop, exploring the importance of play and how to creatively use LEGO® bricks to facilitate play during our hospital visits.

When a child is ill in hospital, so many day-to-day childhood experiences are lost. Our aim is to bring back some of those experiences, taking them into hospital and helping children to smile and escape from what is going on around them for a little while.

Since the workshop, some of our entertainers have been using LEGO® bricks in hospital to help break the ice before sessions, often finding it a useful and relaxed way of introducing ourselves to new patients, particularly some of the older ones, as the bricks act as a great distraction and point of engagement.

We were also delighted to accompany three of the families we support to the LEGO Group’s office in London for a very special all-exclusive tour, during which we enjoyed a fascinating workshop hosted by the LEGO Group and the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the iconic LEGO® bricks, including the heaviest set and when the first brick was created.

We’re so grateful to the LEGO Group for their continued support and creativity in helping to spread smiles to the seriously ill children we support.

If you or your company would like to chat about how you can get involved with Spread a Smile and support our vital work, please email us at