Local actress, Dame Julie Walters, has joined the star-studded line-up backing the 'Save Acorns Black Country Hospice Appeal' which aims to raise £2 million.
Her message of support comes as Acorns Children’s Hospice reveals the total raised within the first month of the Appeal, launched on Friday 19 July, is £219,624.
The Smethwick-born actor, who was made a Dame by the Queen in the November 2017 Birthday Honours, has urged people in Birmingham and the Black Country to play their part in helping to save the Walsall hospice from closure.
The much-loved and versatile actor has starred in a variety of diverse roles, from Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques, to Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam. She has also received two Academy Award nominations for her roles in Educating Rita and Billy Elliott. Dame Julie said:
“Children's hospices are incredible places that help families going through the toughest times. It's clear just how much Acorns in the Black Country means to all the families who depend on its services and to the amazing staff and volunteers for whom it's not just a place of work but more like an extended family.
“I'm delighted to back the campaign to help safeguard the hospice’s future and hope that everyone in Birmingham and the Black Country will do their bit, whether it's making a donation or doing something daft or daring to raise money.”
Daring, dedicated and passionate sums up the spirit of supporters of the Black Country Hospice who, in the last three weeks, have pulled out all the stops to raise money for the Appeal: From eight year old Abbey, who held a Lemon-aid sale on the drive of her home, to delivery driver Dave who spent 24 hours in a bath of baked beans and Kevin, the Walsall’s hospice’s physiotherapist who cycled 3,000 miles through six European countries.
A generous donation of £12,000 was given to the Appeal following the Nachural Summer Ball and Business Awards in June, and in the single largest donation so far – an unbelievable £100,000 was donated by Erica Brown, a former Acorns member of staff.
Dame Julie joins comedian, Jasper Carrott, This Morning presenter, Alison Hammond, Michelin-star TV chef Glynn Purnell and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in backing the campaign and helping rally support from the local community. Toby Porter, Chief Executive of Acorns said:
“The response we’ve seen from the local community has been awe-inspiring and the total raised towards the Appeal so far is phenomenal. Every single person who has donated or fundraised, whether large or small, on behalf of all the Black Country families who use Acorns, should be incredibly proud.
"The response over the first month shows we can reach our £2 million goal, if the incredible support we have had is sustained. We are also so grateful to Dame Julie Walters for giving her backing to this very important cause and for her recognition of the families in our region who rely on our services.
"There is still a long way to go but I hope local people and businesses are inspired to join the Appeal and help save our Black Country hospice.”
The Save Acorns Black Country Children’s Hospice Appeal was launched by Acorns on the back of significant new funding locally and nationally from the NHS.
The appeal sets out to raise £2 million to towards the Walsall hospice – which the charity had proposed for closure - until the full amount of new Government funding is reached. If the appeal is successful, it will lead to the closure proposal being withdrawn completely.
For more information, visit acorns.org.uk/appeal.