A tears and laughter finale for charity show

The Oxford Times: STAR LINE-UP: The a capella group Out of the Blue performing at Childish Things. Below comedian Jimmy Carr Buy this photo STAR LINE-UP: The a capella group Out of the Blue performing at Childish Things. Below comedian Jimmy Carr

IT was a fitting end to 10 years of fundraising to support the city’s two hospices.

That was the view of the organisers of Childish Things as the annual New Theatre show was held for the final time last night.

Stars once again turned out to support East Oxford’s Helen & Douglas House, which together care for people aged up to 35.

Comedian Jimmy Carr, Didcot Xtra Factor presenter Matt Richardson and singer Tom Odell helped the charity bid its farewell.

It was on course to raise £100,000 for this year’s event on top of £500,000 over the past decade.

Event co-organiser Kate Day said: “It was fantastic, the audience loved it.

“They laughed, cheered and cried and did all the things we hoped they would.

“There were so many highlights, it is difficult to pick one. I think it was a fabulous end to 10 years.”

She said: “What we wanted to do was to leave our audience wanting more.

“If people leave wanting more, then we feel we have done our job and I feel people left feeling exactly that.”

The organisers decided to call time on Childish Things to focus on other fundraisers and because it was getting more difficult to recruit the big names.

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Fellow organiser Lizzie Pickering, whose son Harry, six, died at Helen House in 2000, said: “We showed a montage of the decade and films during the show with messages from people who had been in the show.

“For Kate and I, seeing those makes us real.

“It has been a big journey over the past 10 years.”

Mrs Pickering, whose son had spinal muscular atrophy, said: “We feel really happy and it is the right time to leave them wanting more.

“We have got to keep it fresh.”

She added: “For me, it has been a decade of saying thank you for the care our son Harry had. We never thought we would reach £600,000, that is fantastic.”

Childish Things was the brainchild of actor Tom Hollander, whose niece is a visitor to Helen House.

The star, who has appeared in the films including Gosford Park, organised a one-off benefit evening at Oxford Playhouse in 2004.

Thanks to its success, it became an annual event.

Helen & Douglas House – which relies on donations and fundraising – cares for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and supports their families.

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