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Nine-year-old Freddie completes sponsored silence for sister’s hospital care

A Stafford school boy has completed a fundraising vow of silence to thank the hospital staff who cared for his sister.

Freddie Horne, 9, made it through an entire day at school without making a sound, raising almost £5,000 in the process.

UHNM Charity’s share of the proceeds will be used to improve the patient experience on the Oncology Unit at Staffordshire Children’s Hospital at Royal Stoke where Freddie’s sister Mabel, 4, received treatment for leukaemia.

Mum Heather said: “Mabel was diagnosed with leukaemia less than a month after starting reception class last October. Freddie came up with the idea of a sponsored silence by himself whilst Mabel was in hospital, he was being looked after by his grandparents at the time, and myself and dad, Simon, had no idea what he’d done. Freddie and his friends had made posters themselves to advertise it.

“When we returned home with Mabel after 12 days in hospital, he told us all about it, and how he’d raised £80 already.

“We were very proud of him when we found out, but not surprised- Freddie loves Mabel so much, and is such a good big brother to her and is so supportive, it’s such a Freddie thing to do.

“He’d set himself a £250 target, so we decided to share it on social media. It soon reached £1,000 then £2,000 and kept going up and up, it was amazing. Freddie even went on local radio to share his story.

“The sponsored silence went well, he managed to keep it up for the whole day, even when I picked him up on the playground, he wouldn’t talk to me until he walked through the school gates.”

Speaking about his sponsored silence, Freddie said: “It was World Mental Health Day at school, and it wasn’t long since Mabel was in hospital, so I decided to raise some money for her and her hospital.

“The silence went good, but there were times when my teacher was asking me questions and I had to write the answers down on a whiteboard! I enjoyed raising the money and feel happy about what I’ve done.”

Freddie’s dad Simon added: “The care Mabel received at Staffordshire Children’s Hospital at Royal Stoke has been brilliant, we couldn’t fault anything. One thing we did discover however, was that the fish tank in the Oncology playroom only had one fish left in it, so we’ve decided to use the money raised to buy some more fish to keep it company.

“As Mabel enjoyed playing in there, we’ve also donated a number of toys and games so other patients can share the same experience.”

Funds donated through UHNM Charity will also enable the Unit to purchase new furniture for patients and their loved ones.

Julie Eaten, Children’s Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist said: “We were thrilled to hear that Freddie had decided to take on his sponsored silence for his sister Mabel. Everybody on the Unit would like to say a big well done and thank you to Freddie and his family for helping to improve the experience of patients and their loved ones who receive treatment here at Staffordshire Children’s Hospital at Royal Stoke.”

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