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University musicians perform for children's hospice appeal

Press release issued: 10 March 2006

Outstanding young musicians at the University of Bristol will be performing a series of special concerts in support of a new hospice for children in the South West.

Outstanding young musicians at the University of Bristol will be performing a series of special concerts in support of a new hospice for children in the South West.

The concerts will bring international soloists to Bristol to perform with the University’s Symphony Orchestra and Choral Society, conducted by Dr John Pickard.

Each performance will raise money for  Babe’s Big Appeal, organised by Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW), which is raising £15 million for a much-needed community care facility for life-limited children and their families at Charlton Farm, Wraxall, near Bristol, due to open in 2007. 

This first concert will be held on Saturday 18 March at 7.30 p.m. in the Victoria Rooms, home of the University’s Department of Music.  Deborah Stoddart (soprano), John Upperton (tenor) and Niall Hoskin (bass) will perform in a programme of masterpieces by Edward Elgar (the 1911 Coronation March and The Spirit of England) and William Mathias (This Worlde’s Joie).  These brilliant performers will be joined by the outstanding Bristol Cathedral Girls’ Choir.

Tickets cost £12 (reserved seats), £8 (unreserved), (£5 concessions).  All proceeds will go towards CHSW for Charlton Farm, which is due to open early in 2007.

The South West currently has only one children’s hospice, Little Bridge House in Barnstaple, opened by CHSW in 1995, which supports more than 200 children and the families, offering respite, relaxation, friendship and a sense of community.  However, there are more than 800 children in the South West with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition so a new hospice is desperately needed.

This new hospice will instantly double provision and offer more choice to families so that they can remain close to home or take a complete break away from the area in which they live.

Babe’s Big Appeal was launched to raise the £15 million necessary to build, equip and endow the second hospice with initial running costs.  The appeal is named after Babe, the hero of The Sheep Pig, a novel by children’s author Dick King-Smith who kindly agreed to lend this much-loved character to the appeal.  Babe overcomes adversity and sets his heart on achieving his dream, regardless of his physical limitations or what people might think; Children's Hospice South West sees many children who refuse to be limited by their physical conditions.

Bristol University’s Michael Liversidge, a member of CHSW's Campaign Board, said: “Charlton Farm will provide a place where children in need of specialist care can be looked after to the very highest standards in an environment that will be a home from home for them and their families, sometimes for shorter respite periods but also for longer stays.  

“The University of Bristol’s superbly talented musicians and their invited soloists are delighted to have this opportunity to support the work which Children’s Hospice South West does.  It is a special privilege to bring together the brilliance of outstanding young people who give enjoyment to so many through their music making with the needs of other young people who desperately need the care that Charlton Farm will provide.”

The next concert in the series will be the Gala Concert on Midsummer Night, 21 June 2006 featuring the University’s Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra playing a programme including Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 23 in A major and royal music by Purcell and Handel.

Charlton Farm

The site of the new hospice lies within a green belt area of historic parkland and is part of the Tyntesfield Estate.  It is Grade 2 listed and includes a main farmhouse and several barns set in 150 acres of pastureland - plenty of space in which to develop the hospice, while keeping the air of complete tranquillity.  Families visiting Charlton Farm will be able to enjoy spending time in the four spacious sitting rooms, multi-sensory room and bubbling Jacuzzi.  There will be large gardens to explore, plenty of space for all sorts of play activities and an indoor winter garden for when it's too cold to venture out.

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