Children’s TV star supports local children’s hospice

By Amanda Wilkins - 24 May 2024


Children’s TV and panto star, Chris Jarvis, is calling on schools to take part in the Big Teddy Takeover to support the local children's hospice charity, Julia’s House.

Schools across Swindon are invited to host their own Big Teddy Takeover to mark this year’s national Children’s Hospice Week, from 17th to 23rd June, with the aim of raising essential donations and awareness for Julia’s House.  

CBeebies favourite and Lighthouse Poole Panto star, Chris Jarvis, has been a patron and passionate supporter of Julia’s House for several years and frequently visits the charity’s hospices to meet the families and read stories to the children. 

On his most recent visit, Chris brought along Stuffy the soft toy, which features alongside the actor and presenter in the CBeebies programme, Show Me Show Me

Chris said, “Julia’s House continues to be the most precious sanctuary for our most remarkable young people and their families. Everything about the place is uplifting and inspiring; and everyone who works there brings enormous joy. 

"However, funding all the amazing resources, activities and the building itself is no picnic, and that’s why we need to call in the teddy bears who make picnics truly awesome. Please get involved with your little ones! A little teddy can make a big difference.” 

The Julia’s House Big Teddy Takeover event is kindly being sponsored by the Wiltshire-based legal experts, Awdry Law

Julia’s House Fundraiser, Claudia Hazelton said: “The Big Teddy Takeover is a simple idea and lots of fun. Children and teachers are invited to bring in a cuddly toy and a £1 donation for Julia’s House on a day of their choice in June.

"If they’d like to make their Big Teddy Takeover even bigger, they could add onesies and slippers, book and bake sales, teddy bear picnics, teddy-themed lessons and more.” 

The local children’s hospice, Julia’s House, cares for the most seriously ill children and their families across Wiltshire and Dorset. The charity’s nurses and carers provide free compassionate care in families’ homes and at the charity’s hospice buildings in Devizes and Corfe Mullen.  

This lifeline of support is only made possible thanks to fundraising and donations, as Julia’s House receives just eight per cent government funding. 

One of the children cared for by Julia’s House is two-year-old Finley. Before he was born, Finley was diagnosed with a rare and incurable condition called lymphangioma. The condition affects the lymphatic system and causes fluid to back up and form cysts. Because of the pressure caused by the cyst on Finley’s neck, the toddler needs a tracheostomy to help his breathing and is only just starting to make sounds and communicate with sign language. Finley loves cuddly toys and one of his favourite teddies is Mary Beary, which sometimes comes with him on his hospice visits. 

Children’s Hospice Week aims to raise awareness and funds for palliative care services and children’s hospices like Julia’s House and the families they support.  

Claudia said, “The children we care for all have life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. They need specialist, round-the-clock care for these complex conditions and that can be incredibly hard on their families.  

“Our team of nurses and carers don’t just care for the seriously ill child, they also look after the children’s siblings, parents and grandparents too. We help them however we can, whether that’s with clinical care and respite support in the home or hospice, fun weekends away for sisters and brothers or complementary therapy and practical help for mums and dads.

"As a charity, our costs are increasing along with the demand for our critical care. More children are being born and living longer with rare and complex medical conditions, so each year we need to raise more money to ensure we can be there for every family that needs us.” 

Sign up to take part in the Big Teddy Takeover at the Julia’s House website or email [email protected] 


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