Sophie Ellis-Bextor makes surprise visit to children's hospice

The singer has taken part in a pyjama-themed party at a children's hospice which has benefited from funds raised by the National Lottery.

Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor made a surprise visit to a children’s hospice to raise awareness of the billions of pounds donated to UK charities by the National Lottery.

While the National Lottery has turned thousands of people into millionaires, it has also raised £10.3 billion for UK charities over the past 25 years.

Some of that money has gone towards the construction of a new teenage wing at Claire House Children’s Hospice on the Wirral.

To celebrate the National Lottery’s support for charities, Ellis-Bextor on Monday visited the hospice for a pyjama-themed party.

“Lots of people won’t be aware that the National Lottery has already raised billions of pounds for amazing charities that are transforming lives every day – today has really brought to life how this makes a difference to families,” she said in a statement.

“The work Claire House Children’s Hospice do is so inspiring; as a mum, I feel it’s so important that charities like this are able to bring a sense of normality to family life during some of the most difficult times.”

Evelyn Hodson meets star Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the centre
Evelyn Morrison meets star Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the hospice (Shirlaine Forrest/PA)

The Murder On The Dancefloor singer brought along a birthday cake, played party games with the children and read them a story before their afternoon nap.

Shirley McIntyre’s nine-year-old son Charlie was six when he was first brought to the hospice.

Charlie was born with lissencephaly – a rare, gene-linked brain malformation condition.

He usually spends two days at the hospice where he takes part in arts and craft activities and goes on trips to the seaside.

“It’s a little holiday for him being here, and a much-needed break for us. He has a lovely time and gets spoilt rotten,” Ms McIntyre said.

“There’s always something going on for the kids. Charlie can’t do a lot of things, but enjoys painting and making things, and enjoys getting involved.”

The National Lottery has funded more than 110,000 charitable projects since 1994.

Players have raised more than £2.4 billion for health charities, more than £2.2 billion for disability charities and £2.3 billion for charities that focus on poverty.

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