This is the heartwarming moment Sophie Ellis-Bextor surprised children at a hospice pyjama party.

The mum-of-five, who arrived at the sleepover-style party with cake, took part in art activities and read the children and their siblings a story before their afternoon nap.

Sophie, 40, also spent time chatting with staff at Claire House Children’s Hospice in the Wirral, hearing first-hand about the important work they do.

The singer said: “I loved spending time visiting Claire House today.

“It is a bright, happy place and it’s been really special to talk to some of the children and their families, and to see how the amazing staff are helping them to live life to the full.

“The work Claire House Children’s Hospice do is so inspiring. As a mum, I feel it’s so important that charities like this are able to bring a sense of normality to family life during some of the most difficult times.”

Sophie was attending the hospice to see how funds from The National Lottery support charities across the UK.

Over the past 25 years, National Lottery players have raised an incredible £10.3 billion for charities across the UK, with 80 per cent of grants going to smaller charities.

This includes projects run by the smallest of grassroots community organisations right up to national charities, such as Mind UK, The Wildlife Trust, NSPCC, Age UK and The Princes Trust to name but a few.

One of the mums at the pyjama party was Shirley McIntyre, whose son Charlie, nine, was born with Lissencephaly – a rare, gene-linked condition which affects about one in 100,000 babies.

Charlie has been visiting Claire House for three years and typically spends two days and nights at the hospice per week.

Shirley said: “Charlie can’t walk or talk, and he can’t use his hands or sit up.

“Everything you or I take for granted or do on a daily basis, Charlie can’t do. In developmental terms he’s the equivalent of a six-month-old.

“It’s a little holiday for him being here, and a much-needed break for us. He has a lovely time and gets spoilt rotten.

“There’s always something going on for the kids. Charlie can’t do a lot of things, but enjoys painting and making things, and enjoys getting involved.”

David Pastor, CEO, Claire House Children’s Hospice, added: “The pyjama party with Sophie has been amazing and it’s helped create some really special memories for the children, their siblings and parents.

“We’re really pleased to be part of the National Lottery’s 25th birthday celebrations.

“Funding from The National Lottery has helped us improve facilities for children and young people and refurbish our Art Room so children and their families have an up to date, safe and fun place to spend time together.

“Alongside charities in every part of the UK, we want to say a big thank you to National Lottery players who raise so much for charities and community groups.”

The National Lottery is highlighting the positive impact players have had on the community at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk.

ENDS

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