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18 November 2019

Local charity bringing the power of stories to children at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children highlighted by BBC Children in Need

From boy wizards to bear hunts, the work of a small Gloucestershire-based charity bringing the much-needed power of stories to children in hospitals across the UK was highlighted on this year's BBC's Children in Need Appeal show to millions of viewers on Friday evening.

Wilf and Maisy

Read for Good's resident storytellers and bright-orange mobile bookcases operate in all 30 of the UK's major children's hospitals, with brand new books supplied every six weeks to reach some 150,000 ill children and their siblings ever year.

The BBC Children in Need Appeal film features the story of Maisy (5), who was diagnosed last year with a childhood renal cancer known as Wilm's tumour.  With treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, the multiple stays at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children have been tough for Maisy and her family.

Read for Good's Chief Executive, Justine Daniels said: "We all know the power of a good story, but in hospital - for kids like Maisy - this becomes a super power. Books and stories provide a much-needed escape out to the wider world when you're a child stuck in hospital: a little distraction goes a long way and allowing imagination to flourish is more important than ever.  We're thrilled we were given the opportunity to highlight the remarkable power of books and storytelling with this very special film featuring one of our storytellers, Wilf."

BBC Children in Need is part-funding Read for Good's programme in four hospitals for the next two years: Bristol Royal, Royal Devon and Exeter, Royal Alexandra in Brighton and Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. Alongside its programme in hospitals, the Nailsworth-based charity has also motivated millions of children since 1984 to read for fun through its sponsored Readathon in schools, with Roald Dahl being a former chair. From running its Readathon across whole cities like Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester to boosting school libraries, Read for Good helps busy schools carve out time to read for fun.

One of the charity's Patrons,Gruffaloauthor Julia Donaldson, was visiting Stroud Book Festival last weekend and said: "Read for Good's vital work in schools and hospitals improves the life chances of children across the UK. It is great that the charity supports school libraries and that the school children whom discover the delights of reading are also able to help bring books and stories to children in hospital. I'm so glad that Read for Good has had the opportunity to highlight the importance of reading for children, by appearing on BBC Children in Need's prime-time appeal show". 

The work of Read for Good also featured on an edition of Radio 4's Listening Project in the run up to BBC Children in Need with nine-year old Eliza talking with her mum, Jenny, about her stays in Royal Cornwall Hospital and the Read for Good storyteller she met. 'Chocolate or books?' was broadcast on Wednesday 13 and Sunday 17 November, as well as on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Friday 15 November and is also available on the BBC Sounds app, eventually becoming a permanent part of a national social history archive in the British Library. 

BBC Children in Need relies on the generosity and creativity of the thousands of supporters and fundraisers who raise millions of pounds for the charity every year. To date the UK public has raised over £1 billion for children and young people facing disadvantage across the UK.

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