Ed Sheeran shines in his only live performance of the year to raise £300,000 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices nook appeal
- Credit: PA
International singing superstar Ed Sheeran gave his only live performance of the year to provide a massive boost to the East Anglia's Children's Hospices £10m nook appeal.
The EACH ambassador wowed a 350-strong audience tonight as he performed a 40-minute acoustic set at the end of a glittering gala dinner at the Hintz Hall at London's Natural History Museum.
The evening - which raised tens of thousands of pounds - celebrated the work of EACH and gave guests the chance to hear more about the appeal to deliver even better care to more families in the region.
EACH provides vital services caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across East Anglia and supporting their families. The nook appeal is their campaign to raise £10m to transform children's palliative care, including building a new hospice called the nook.
EACH Vice President Sir Martyn Lewis hosted the evening, which included a three-course gourmet meal, charity auction, as well as stories from families who benefit from the charity's services.
Annabel Hughes was interviewed about the amazing support given to her daughter Rebekah, 11, and the whole family by EACH.
Guests also saw a film showcasing the progress of Bethany Smith.
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Graham Butland, EACH chief executive, said: 'We are overwhelmed by the support and success of our first EACH gala dinner. It truly was a spectacular evening, and special thanks must go to Ed, who has been an EACH Ambassador since 2014 and has shown us tremendous support in that time.
'We're thrilled with the amount secured this evening, both through ticket sales and pledges. I would like to thank our event sponsors The New Homes Group, everyone who generously donated items for our auction and of course everyone who came along to support the event.
'Fundraising for our nook appeal is going well but there is still plenty of work to be done.
'We are well on our way to reaching the halfway point of our target and look forward to announcing that milestone soon. It's a good start, but we still need your support to make our vision of providing a 21st century building for 21st century care a reality for Norfolk families.'
Ed said: 'As an ambassador of EACH, I am enormously proud and excited to be at the gala dinner and being part of a wonderful evening of fundraising for a new hospice in Norfolk.'
Ed's mother, Imogen, is also an EACH volunteer.
Among the guests were Norwich City footballers Wes Hoolahan, Russell Martin and Robbie Brady and also TV presenter Nick Knowles.
The night raised £300,000 for the appeal, including more than £90,000 from the auction alone, with winners bagging a selfie with Ed for £6,000 and a portrait of the star for £25,000.
The nook appeal
The nook appeal was launched two years ago to raise £10m to transform children's palliative service, including a new purpose-built facility in a five-acre woodland site at Framingham Earl.
It will replace the Quidenham hospice, which has been an incredible home-from-home for EACH for almost 25 years.
The charity has outgrown the current building and needs the new building to meet the increased demand for services and the changing and more complex needs of the children and young people they care for.
Twitter: @EACH_norfolk #thenookappeal/Facebook: thenookappeal.
Support from EACH has made such a difference to Bethany's life
Six-year-old Bethany Smith was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital at the start of January 2012 suffering from bronchiolitis and a collapsed lung. She has a neuromuscular condition meaning that her muscles are not as strong as they should be. In addition, she has been diagnosed with chest infection susceptibility which affects her respiratory and immune systems. Since June 2014 Bethany has been receiving hydrotherapy and dedicated physio and occupational therapy work through EACH.
Bethany's parents, Caroline and Steve, said: 'Bethany has benefited immensely from these sessions and has achieved so much with the fantastic support of Debra and the EACH team. The progress she has made is wonderful, she's gone from being unable to support her head or sit up on her own to being able to support her head, sit up unaided and shuffle along the floor.
'This has made such a difference to her life, both at home and at school.'
'We can't put into words how much of a difference EACH makes to our family. The team there are absolutely fantastic and have included Bethany in so many different events and activities.'
'I don't know what we'd do without the support from EACH'
Rebekah Hughes is 11 and she and her parents Annabel and Haydn and twin brother Henry has been receiving care and support from EACH at Quidenham since 2011.
As a baby, Rebekah appeared well and her development was on a par with twin brother Henry until she was 11 months old, when she started having severe and prolonged seizures. She was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome a very severe form of epilepsy in December 2006 shortly before her second birthday. Since that time, Rebekah has suffered from hundreds of seizures, including being airlifted to hospital and spending time in intensive care. Rebekah has been on life support on many occasions and the family are on high alert at all times.
Annabel, Rebekah's mum said: 'It really is devastating when you find out your child has a such a severe illness.'
The family started accessing home care from EACH five years ago, something described as invaluable by Annabel.
'Initially, I was worried Rebekah would feel we were abandoning her with someone else, especially as she is so vulnerable. The reality was so different though – the transition leading up to us leaving her with an EACH nurse gave us huge confidence.
'I don't know what we'd do without them. It would be far more stressful and tiring without their support.'
Message from the Duchess of Cambridge
EACH royal patron The Duchess of Cambridge was at the launch of the nook appeal in November 2014 and a message from her was shared with guests at last night's dinner.
'Thank you all so much for supporting East Anglia's Children's Hospices, a wonderful organisation of which I am incredibly proud to be patron. I am delighted to hear fundraising is going well. Congratulations to you all.
'EACH delivers exceptional care and support across East Anglia and The nook is vital for their vision of further transforming children's palliative care in Norfolk. Not only will The Nook be a very special place to receive care, it will become a central hub from which the specialist team can co-ordinate, develop and deliver vital services in hundreds of family homes. I am in no doubt The nook will make a huge difference to thousands of children and families for many years to come.
'I do hope you all have an enjoyable evening and are able to continue helping EACH move ever closer to achieving their vision. Thank you again for your support.'