Rays of Sunshine

All posts tagged Rays of Sunshine

In 2017, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball recorded a charity single in aid of children’s charity, Rays of Sunshine.  appropriately enough, the song was Bring Me Sunshine:

Having sung at the charity’s annual fund raising dinner, the pair then decided to record the song they sang that evening.  The Rays of Sunshine children’s choir were also featured and then made a simply unforgettable appearance on stage with Alfie and Michael in London.  Following all this, Alfie then came on board as an ambassador for the charity – I spoke to Sarah May Kershaw from the fundraising team to learn more about what they do.

Rays of Sunshine was founded in 2003 to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and those with life limiting conditions and the work they do mainly consists of granting magical wishes.  Every day, the charity gives these children and young people, aged three to eighteen, the chance to put their illness on hold and enjoy a moment of escape. Wishes can be as unique as the children themselves and whether a child wants to be a princess or a fireman for the day, go to Disneyland in Paris, visit Santa in Lapland, own an iPad, meet a favourite celebrity or even a ‘real life’ mermaid, Rays of Sunshine works hard to make that wish come true.  Hospital wards can also benefit from magical wishes and have included decorating treatment rooms, purchasing equipment, funding sensory room and funding an indoor sensory garden.  Another hospital centred activity are hospital activity days; every week of the year the team bring sunshine to children on the wards of hospitals across the country through entertainment such as Bollywood dancers and imaginative arts and crafts. These events provide distraction and reduce isolation for children receiving long term treatment in hospital.

I asked Sarah about the impact and importance of celebrity ambassadors and she said that having them is “invaluable in terms of awareness and fundraising…since Alfie and Michael, we’ve been able to reach a new audience who weren’t aware of us before.”  This awareness was evident when the children’s choir were invited to perform with Alfie at Kenwood House, London this summer.  Rays of Sunshine staff were in attendance with charity buckets and ,had also benefited from ticket sales to their patrons.  Altogether, including merchandise sales, £7,000 was raised that evening, enough to fund hospital ward wishes for seven hospitals to decorate treatment rooms or provide sensory equipment.  Alternatively, the money could also pay for three seriously ill children and their families to enjoy a UK break together as a family, enable fourteen seriously ill children and their families to have their wish granted to come to London for a day, pay for two seriously ill children and their families to go to Disneyland Paris or fund a seriously ill child to travel to Florida or Lapland with their family.

That’s a wonderful amount of money and the charity are so grateful and say that it exceeded all their expectations.  However, apart from the money, the whole event was like a magical wish for the choir, proving life long memories for them and their families.  They were included in the soundcheck with Alfie and the whole evening, as well as that at the 02 in December 2017, meant they could have a once in a life time, money can’t buy experience.

For more information on Rays of Sunshine, click here – and keep a look out for a fan fundraiser later in the year.

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A summer evening – albeit a chilly evening – was spent in the grounds of Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London in the company of Alfie Boe and his fabulous band, not to mention fabulous friends in the form of Linda A, Linda W, Jayne, Cecelia, Roberta, Annie, Pauline, Jean and Claire.

Alfie’s set was almost the same as at Kelvingrove and Fleetwood, with a couple of differences and at least one new addition, to the encore.  Led Zeppelin’s Going To California was a new song, and Linda W was in seventh heaven (listen carefully and you can hear her gasps of delight at the beginning):

Alfie was, as usual, in fine voice and had all the energy you might expect from a performer at the top of his game and clearly having the time of his life.  I seem to write that sentence fairly often these days, but with every new concert, he just gets better and better and to me, it seems that he never takes his good fortune for granted, which unfolds as seemingly relentless energy on stage.  Just watching the energy on stage exhausts the audience, never mind Alfie himself!

Highlights were The Way You Look Tonight from his forthcoming album, Bring Him Home (very emotional this time), The Who section, particularly Pinball Wizard and the country section.  I love all those songs and having only discovered Wagon Wheel last year, via Alfie, I especially love the joy the band bring to that song.  The songs from Together and Together Again had the crowd singing along and of course we celebrated Ball and Boe’s double BRIT win too. However, the undoubted stand out song was Bring Me Sunshine; Alfie was joined on stage by the children of the Rays of Sunshine choir and they were magnificent:

They were all wonderful and I’m pleased to say that the audience were able to help bring joy and laughter into the lives of seriously ill children by giving to the collecting buckets available.  If anyone wasn’t able to give at the concert and would like to help, click here to donate.

I’m happy to say that I saw Alfie before the show and he obligingly signed some more competition bits so make sure you’re a subscriber to get first dibs on entries – coming soon!

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For many, including me, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s take on the Morecambe and Wise classic, Bring Me Sunshine was a highlight of their second album, Together Again.  Consequently, it was wonderful news to hear that they had recorded a version to be released as a charity single to benefit the Rays of Sunshine children’s charity.  Released tomorrow, it’s hoped that the all star cast will help in the battle for this year’s Christmas number one – perhaps Ball and Boe might even make it a Christmas number one in both the singles and album chart?

Alfie and Michael are joined by the Rays of Sunshine Children’s Choir, made up of a group of children all living with a serious illness.  After getting to know the charity, Michael and Alfie have been so moved by their work that they wanted to do more, and so reached out to bring sunshine into the lives of desperately ill children this Christmas.  Other artists are Al Murray, Angela Rippon, Aston Merrygold, Bryn Terfel, Calum Scott, Collabro, Danny O’Donoghue (The Script), Gareth Malone, Gregory Porter, Imelda May, Imelda Staunton, Jason Manford, Kelsey Grammer, Lesley Joseph, Loose Women (Kaye Adams, Nadia Sawalha, Stacey Solomon, Linda Robson), Mark King, Mel Giedroyc, Miranda Hart, Ore Oduba, Pauline Quirke, Rick Wakeman, Seal, Shirley Ballas (Strictly Come Dancing), and the Rays of Sunshine Children’s Choir.

Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity grants wishes for seriously ill children and teenagers across the UK. The charity was founded in 2003 and has since granted more than 6,000 wishes for brave and deserving children. Their work provides hope and creates lasting and precious memories for thousands of families across the UK. The charity receives no government funding, so proceeds will enable them to help more children who greatly need our help. Visit www.raysofsunshine.org.uk to find out more.  Decca will donate 100% of all profits, whilst committing to a minimum donation of 50p from the sale of each permanent download to Rays of Sunshine.

To Bring Sunshine to this and order the single please text GET SUNSHINE to 84222 (T&Cs – Texts cost £1 + 1 standard rate msg. Help: 0333 0030 580.  You can also download from iTunes here and from amazon here.