Read for Good on BBC Children in Need!

We are thrilled to have been featured on BBC Children in Need’s fabulous TV show last Autumn. Our hospital programme, which provides brand new books and storyteller visits to children in hospitals, is supported by Children in Need and other grant-making trusts, and also by the millions of pupils and thousands of teachers and librarians who have run Readathon. Please watch and feel proud!!!

BBC Children in Need is part-funding Read for Good’s programme in four hospitals for the next two years: Bristol Royal, Royal Devon and Exeter, Royal Alexandra in Brighton and Royal Cornwall in Truro.

If you watched Maisy on Children in Need and would like to know more, read on…

Maisy’s Story

In late 2018 Maisy’s parents received the news that their little girl, aged only 4 years old had been diagnosed with a childhood renal cancer known as Wilms’ tumour. Since then Maisy has been a regular patient at Bristol children’s hospital since she was diagnosed with a childhood renal cancer known as Wilms Tumour a year ago. The treatment has been tough for Maisy and her family, but Read for Good’s books and stories have helped them get through this very difficult time.

Lisa remembers the first time Maisy met one of our storytellers: “When Read for Good storyteller, Wilf visited the hospital he immediately put Maisy at ease with his huge smile and friendly nature. He helped Maisy with some suggestions. He took his time and he clearly loved delivering joy with all the amazing books!  His knowledge of the books certainly helped. He was full of fun and made Maisy laugh; she said he made her happy and she loved choosing a book to keep.”           

Wilf Merttens is one of our team of 11 storytellers who work in 30 hospitals across the UK helping to distract and delight thousands of children like Maisy every year. Wilf says “When I arrived on the Oncology Ward, I was struck by the pure joy and imagination of Maisy. Kids like Maisy are having a very tough time and it continually astonishes me that somehow they don’t lose the ability to play, to be joyful or to share that joy with others. 

That’s why Read for Good’s work is so important – helping to facilitate play, imagination and stories at a time when these things are more important than ever. We can all learn a lot from kids like Maisy.”

As featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Listening Project

We’re also featuring on BBC Radio 4’s Listening Project on Wednesday 13th November at 10.55am, and on Sunday 17th November at 2.45pm. You can also catch up on BBC Sounds. Here you can hear Eliza’s story, whose regular visits to The Royal Cornwall Hospital were transformed by Read for Good’s fabulous bookcase full of brand new books, and visits from regular professional storyteller, Michael O’Leary. Eliza was often taken to hospital in the middle of the night with asthma, and with only time to pack the essentials, Eliza and her mum Jenny found themselves without their treasured books to distract and calm them. The availability of brand new books on the Read for Good bookcase provided essential comfort, solace and distraction at a time when it was needed the most.

And Mike O’Leary, with his laugh-out-loud stories and traditional tales took Eliza’s mind off her situation and even helped her cope with difficult procedures. Eliza’s mum Jenny says:

‘We were suddenly all in this big room together, sharing this magical experience. Mike told an amazing story about a spider called Anansii. Eliza was so enthralled by the story she painted pictures of all the characters after Mike left and talked about the story for days afterwards. When we left the hospital, her memories of our time there were all about this incredible story. The medical procedures seemed to have been forgotten.’

‘Thanks to Read for Good we now all have positive memories of Eliza’s stays in hospital.’

How we’re funded

As a charity, we are funded by schools who run our sponsored Readathon and the generous donations of individuals and grant-making trusts. To make a donation or find out the various ways you can help, please click here.

Wilf brings smiles to faces at Bristol Children’s Hospital

When Wilf visits Bristol Children’s Hospital for his regular storytelling session to entertain, soothe and comfort seriously ill children, the mood is always lifted. He puts smiles on faces, and brightens up the wards offering to read one of Read for Good’s books or tell a story to a ward-full of children. He regularly sees Maisy, who’s been in and out of Bristol Children’s Hospital for around a year now. They have a lot of fun together!