I was idly flicking through the TV channels on Wednesday evening when I chanced upon a programme that was both entertaining and moving. Usually 'reality' and/or 'celebrity' will have me reaching for the off switch, but this was a show with a difference, where the stars were not the celebrities taking part, but a group of terminally ill children who were having the time of their lives. My only regret was that I had missed the first 45 minutes of the 90 minute programme.
I have tremendous admiration and respect for the Hospice movement, especially for the work of the Children' Hospices. They are not at all the depressing places one might expect, along with the expert care, comfort and support that is offered, there is fun and joy and a great deal of laughter. There is also a desperate shortage of money, since the movement depends entirely on donations. So, the programme on Wednesday was a fundraiser.
Anneka Rice was given 5 days in which to produce a CD of songs from the musicals and to stage a concert, to raise money as well as awareness for the Children's Hospices. I missed the part of the programme that showed her bamboozling leading recording artists into giving their time and talents to the project but she managed to get twelve, including Bonnie Tyler, Lesley Garrett and Michael Bolton. The high point of the concert that they staged was when a choir made up of children from the hospices joined Duncan James in singing 'Somewhere over the rainbow.' It was emotional but not sentimental, certainly not mawkish. The only dry eyes in the theatre were those of the children themselves, their's were sparkling with happiness at being on stage with these famous people.
So, look at this and buy the CD. My copy arrived today and I got through a whole basket of ironing quite painlessly while listening to it. Bonnie Tyler's version of 'I don't know how to love him' is the best I've ever heard.