Brian May and Anita Dobson attended the Sick Children’s Trust Christmas Carol Service on 3 December at St Marylebone Parish Church, London
14 December 2015 by James Watkins
Harry Readhead underwent surgery when he was just a day old – and the Sick Children’s Trust ensured his parents were by his side throughout
Two hours after Harry Readhead was born, doctors discovered there was something wrong with him. A blockage was found in his digestive system, and he had to undergo emergency treatment at the Royal London Hospital, 35 miles away from his family home in Guildford. The surgery was carried out when Harry was just one day old.
However, his parents were able to stay by his side throughout his treatment thanks to support from the charity the Sick Children’s Trust. The charity provided accommodation at Stevenson House, which meant the family were minutes away from Harry’s cot.
Harry is now 10 years old, a pupil at Lanesborough School, a swimmer for Guildford City Swimming Club, and plays rugby for Guildfordians RFC. As a way to say thank-you to the charity on behalf of his family, Harry gave a reading to an audience of more than 600 guests including Windlesham resident and Queen guitarist Brian May and Anita Dobson at the Sick Children’s Trust carol service last week.
“My Mum and Dad tell me about when I was in hospital,” said Harry. “I can’t remember anything but they said I was never alone because they had a home in London called Stevenson House, which meant they could be with me the whole time.”
The Sick Children’s Trust runs 10 “homes from home” across the UK that provide support to the families of sick children. Last year, the charity helped around 3,600 families. It costs £28 per night for the charity to provide a family with a room.
Harry’s father Will, who earlier this year raised more than £400 for the charity after completing the Royal Parks Half Marathon, said: “We are incredibly proud of our son. “He’s come so far. He is simply an inspiration. The hardest moment in my life was signing consent forms before his operation, knowing that the worst case scenario was the death of my first born son at less than one day old. We were only 35 miles from home, but we couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him. Fortunately for us, the staff on the ward put us in touch with The Sick Children’s Trust’s Stevenson House.”
The charity’s Christmas carol service took place at St Marylebone Parish Church in London on December 3, with guests including Vanessa Redgrave, Penelope Wilton and Ben Aldridge.
“The Sick Children’s Trust is an invaluable service, without which parents would either have to find and fund their own accommodation or commute sometimes hundreds of miles between home and hospital,” added Mr Readhead. “I firmly believe it is vitally important for a child to know that their family is close by, and the Sick Children’s Trust does an amazing job of making that possible. I thought it was a wonderful evening of music, song and laughter. We were all particularly proud of Harry, who did amazingly well.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the charity can do so by visiting http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/