In 2017, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball recorded a charity single in aid of children’s charity, Rays of Sunshine. appropriately enough, the song was Bring Me Sunshine:
Having sung at the charity’s annual fund raising dinner, the pair then decided to record the song they sang that evening. The Rays of Sunshine children’s choir were also featured and then made a simply unforgettable appearance on stage with Alfie and Michael in London. Following all this, Alfie then came on board as an ambassador for the charity – I spoke to Sarah May Kershaw from the fundraising team to learn more about what they do.
Rays of Sunshine was founded in 2003 to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and those with life limiting conditions and the work they do mainly consists of granting magical wishes. Every day, the charity gives these children and young people, aged three to eighteen, the chance to put their illness on hold and enjoy a moment of escape. Wishes can be as unique as the children themselves and whether a child wants to be a princess or a fireman for the day, go to Disneyland in Paris, visit Santa in Lapland, own an iPad, meet a favourite celebrity or even a ‘real life’ mermaid, Rays of Sunshine works hard to make that wish come true. Hospital wards can also benefit from magical wishes and have included decorating treatment rooms, purchasing equipment, funding sensory room and funding an indoor sensory garden. Another hospital centred activity are hospital activity days; every week of the year the team bring sunshine to children on the wards of hospitals across the country through entertainment such as Bollywood dancers and imaginative arts and crafts. These events provide distraction and reduce isolation for children receiving long term treatment in hospital.
I asked Sarah about the impact and importance of celebrity ambassadors and she said that having them is “invaluable in terms of awareness and fundraising…since Alfie and Michael, we’ve been able to reach a new audience who weren’t aware of us before.” This awareness was evident when the children’s choir were invited to perform with Alfie at Kenwood House, London this summer. Rays of Sunshine staff were in attendance with charity buckets and ,had also benefited from ticket sales to their patrons. Altogether, including merchandise sales, £7,000 was raised that evening, enough to fund hospital ward wishes for seven hospitals to decorate treatment rooms or provide sensory equipment. Alternatively, the money could also pay for three seriously ill children and their families to enjoy a UK break together as a family, enable fourteen seriously ill children and their families to have their wish granted to come to London for a day, pay for two seriously ill children and their families to go to Disneyland Paris or fund a seriously ill child to travel to Florida or Lapland with their family.
That’s a wonderful amount of money and the charity are so grateful and say that it exceeded all their expectations. However, apart from the money, the whole event was like a magical wish for the choir, proving life long memories for them and their families. They were included in the soundcheck with Alfie and the whole evening, as well as that at the 02 in December 2017, meant they could have a once in a life time, money can’t buy experience.
For more information on Rays of Sunshine, click here – and keep a look out for a fan fundraiser later in the year.
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