family fun day
Left to right: Donna Todd, Steve Nicholls the play specialist, Matron Emma Dolman, entertainer Graham Andrew, Juliet Waller, Anita Burton with Hannah-Lily, Elly Miller and Annabel Hughes.

Juliet Waller wanted to do something positive as she watched her five year old daughter Gemma undergo cancer treatment. So she decided to raise money to bring fun and laughter to the children at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

A fantastic family fun day in Aylsham and some generous giving meant she handed over £18,200 to allow Norfolk entertainer Graham Andrew to provide weekly entertainment and fun to young patients on wards and in outpatient clinics for the next two years in the Jenny Lind Children’s department.

“I needed something positive to focus on while we went through the blood tests and scans,” she explained.

Juliet had the idea when her daughter was entertained by a “giggle doctor” at another hospital.  So, she got a few good friends together and they formed ‘Holding Hands With Our Courageous Children’ and began raising money and talking to sponsors.

They had hoped to raise £10,000, but with generous donations, other events including Juliet’s 72 year old dad, Mike Brackenbury jumping out of a plane and the massively successful fun day in August, they raised £25,000.

“It surpassed everything we ever dreamed of,” said Juliet, “We all felt incredibly emotional, the whole day was perfect”.

“All we ever wanted to do was raise enough money to give something back to those who supported us during our hardest times and to help other children and their families whilst they face some of the scariest times of their life.  We are completely overwhelmed by all the support we received and cannot thank people enough for their generosity.  We couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved and what we can now provide to others.”

The entertainment programme which will have Graham bringing laughter and magic to youngsters is hoped to be the start of a more regular schedule of activities.  They will be organised by the Hospital Art’s co-ordinator Emma Jarvis in conjunction with the play nurses and Emma Dolman the Children’s Matron for the Jenny Lind Children’s department.

The fund raising group have now started to raise more money so they can fund a third year of entertainment for youngsters in hospital.

Louise Cook, NNUH fundraising manager said: “Thanks to the family of Gemma Waller and the support group the hospital charity will be able to provide fun and enjoyment to some very sick children.”

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