School’s concert is in tune to help hospital

Young musicians made sure they hit the right notes after being inspired to hold a fundraising concert by one of their friends.

The choir, strings and recorder groups at Whitley Lodge First School in Whitley Bay put on a music show to raise money for the ‘Clown Doctors’.

Pupils from Whitley Lodge 1st School holding a concert to raise money for The Clown Doctors. GM035936

Pupils from Whitley Lodge 1st School holding a concert to raise money for The Clown Doctors. GM035936

They were inspired to fundraise when pupil Austin Sweeney, five, received a visit from the Clown Doctors while he was a patient at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.

The school successfully raised £540 at the well-attended concert.

Parents, grandparents, teachers and carers listened to a musical extravaganza, with the money raised through ticket sales, a raffle, cake stall and donations.

Mandy Elkin, music teacher at the first school, said: “We have been so inspired by Austin’s courage and resilience we really wanted to do something positive as a school.

“As a school we support a number of charities, but this one is particularly close to our hearts, as one of the youngest members of our school family has benefited from the work of the Clown Doctors.

“We are delighted to be able to give something back to this very important programme.”

The Clown Doctors visit sick children in the Great North Children’s Hospital to support them through what can be a traumatic and frightening time.

Experienced sensitive artists work with the children to help them come to terms with their situation using the joy of humour and the creativity of play.

Last year, The Children’s Foundation directly helped, involved or affected the lives of 29,500 children across the north east.

Nuritza Daghlian, programme leader of the Clown Doctors, said: “The work the Clown Doctors carry out in the Great North Children’s Hospital is invaluable.

“They are raising smiles all over the wards. We are extremely grateful that Whitley Lodge First School for supporting us to continue this work.”

Professor Stephen Singleton, current chairman of The Children’s Foundation, said: “The difference the Clown Doctors have made to children and their families can be felt wherever they work, and we are immensely proud to have such a high-quality arts-in-health programme in the region.

“As the Clown Doctor Programme enters its eighth year of delivery I would like to commend their work in bringing laughter and smiles to hospitalised children in the north east.”