Hospice children get pop star treatment

Many children dream of becoming a pop star and eagerly look forward to the day when they cut their first disc. And yesterday, a special group of youngsters and their families had the chance to make that dream come true - thanks to the generosity of former Darkness band member Dan Hawkins and Norfolk-based record producer Nick Brine.

Many children dream of becoming a pop star and eagerly look forward to the day when they cut their first disc.

And yesterday, a special group of youngsters and their families had the chance to make that dream come true - thanks to the generosity of former Darkness band member Dan Hawkins and Norfolk-based record producer Nick Brine.

All of the families receive care and support at East Anglia's Children's Hospices at Quidenham and Ipswich, and they were thrilled at the invitation to create their own CD version of the popular McFly Track “It's All About You” at the world-class recording studio at Hawkins' farm, near Wymondham.

It was a day filled with joy and laughter for the children, parents, and hospice staff, as they made music together - following in the footsteps of acclaimed groups like The Darkness, the Arctic Monkeys, KT Tunstall and Hawkins' current band the Stone Gods, who also use the studio.


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Bethany Moorhouse, 11, of East Harling, lost her brother Jacob last year. He was a patient at the Quidenham hospice, and she and her family continue to receive bereavement support from the charity's team.

She said: “It's been brilliant. I was nervous this morning but I have about got into it now. It's a once-in-a- lifetime experience and it's really good because I want to be on the West End stage. I'm not necessarily looking for fame but I am looking for a job I enjoy.”

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For Abbey Ibbs, of Woodbridge, who was 14 yesterday, an extra treat was in store when a surprise birthday cake arrived and she was invited to blow out the candles.

She has juvenile Batten disease, a degenerative condition, and has been going to the Ipswich hospice for more than three years, and was accompanied by her younger brother Bailey and stepbrothers - twins Olly and Dominic Hedgley - who are all aged 11.

Her mum, Dawn Ibbs, said: “Abbey was so excited because she was going to be a pop star, so it's made her birthday. It's absolutely gorgeous here and they are so nice to open the studio up to us. We have named ourselves The New Darkness!”

Sixteen-year-old Josh Margereson, from Ipswich, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair to get about. He has his heart set on becoming a part- time DJ and referee for sports events for the disabled, and did a stylish turn on the drums.

“It's good to know that there's been a lot of famous people here like Darkness and the Arctic Monkeys - they are very big in this country. I enjoy singing and I am a good first- timer on the drums, so I am like a big star now,” he quipped.

The light-hearted banter continued when Stone Gods' member Toby Mcfarlane emerged from a late lie-in, and was persuaded to join in the singing.

“It's a really nice thing to do this. Being in a daft rock band you don't often get the opportunity to do nice things for people, although it's really Nick and Katy, his partner, who are organising it today,” he said, adding that he was there to make the tea.

Mr Brine said they were only too pleased to stage the event - described by the charity's spokesman Simon Hempsall as a fantastic opportunity - as they wanted to do something to help the hospice.

“The families, I think, are a big part of it. You see the buzz on everyone's face. Just to come here to a place like this is good for a start and it's a little bit of history, with bands like KT Tunstall and the Darkness having recorded here,” he added.

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