CHRISTMAS APPEAL: Pick a child to share £10,000

Copthorne Santa. Picturted at The Copthorne promoting ' Help a child make a change' from left... Victoria Wright,(Copthorne staff member) Sam Smith (Prince Charming), Santa,Eamonn Hunt and Shirley Kilner of 'Help a child have a chance'
Copthorne Santa. Picturted at The Copthorne promoting ' Help a child make a change' from left... Victoria Wright,(Copthorne staff member) Sam Smith (Prince Charming), Santa,Eamonn Hunt and Shirley Kilner of 'Help a child have a chance'
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DO you know a child who deserves a Christmas to remember?

If so, a Sheffield charity might be able to help this festive season.

The Star has teamed up with good cause Help A Child Have A Chance for the 12 Days Of Christmas appeal, offering young people across the region the chance of receiving a slice of £10,000.

Grants from the charity pot are being offered to children who are vulnerable or in need of funding – for example, a poorly youngster who needs a fun-packed holiday, a gifted young person who needs a little extra help making the most of their talent, or a family who need equipment to look after a disabled child.

Readers of The Star are being asked to nominate potential recipients across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, and 12 of the most deserving will be chosen and presented with their cheques during the two weeks after Christmas.

Help A Child Have A Chance was set up last year by the family of the late Hallam FM DJ Dave Kilner, who died just over two years ago.

Dave raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for sick and disadvantaged children by organising countless charity events, and the good cause was set up to continue his legacy.

Dave’s widow Shirley said she wanted the appeal to ‘support children who are most in need’.

“If we can help them have a better Christmas, or a better future, that’s what we’re here for,” she said.

Shirley said the charity is ‘open to suggestions’ about who should be given the money.

“We would purchase a wheelchair for people who need it, or a walking frame, or a piece of equipment that someone’s family can’t afford to buy,” she said.

“Or if someone’s got a child that’s gifted in sport or music, and they need a bit of help to further that talent – anything like this we would look at.

“We just thought the 12 Days Of Christmas had a nice ring to it. Ideally we’re going to vary the amounts given.”

The charity has so far donated thousands of pounds to worthy local causes. It raised money to send five-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Alex Burland, from Hunters Bar, to America for vital surgery, and also provided the cash to create a ‘quiet room’ at Work Limited in Bents Green, which runs courses for people with autism.

But Shirley added that the charity sometimes has difficulty finding the youngsters most in need of help.

“What we’ve found is that people are not very quick at asking for money. We seem to have got quite a bit in the bank.”

The organisation was launched in style with a special concert at Sheffield City Hall last April, with appearances from Tony Christie, members of rock band Def Leppard and St Elmo’s Fire singer John Parr.

“We’ve also had a couple of balls, golfing events and various fundraising things,” said Shirley.

Shirley, 52, runs the charity from her home in Whirlow along with daughters Rebecca, 25, Nicola, 22, and trustees Martina Bradshaw and Eamonn Hunt, both friends of Dave.

“When you actually give the money away and see how happy it makes people, it means so much,” Shirley said. “It’s lovely to see their faces light up.”

The funding can be for individuals aged up to 18, or groups, carers and educators who work with young people of the same age.

The 12 recipients will be chosen by a committee made up of representatives from the charity and The Star.

n Nominations can be made by emailing 12daysofchristmas@helpachildhaveachance.co.uk, or by post to 12 Days of Christmas, Help A Child Have A Chance, 2 Woburn Place, Sheffield, S11 9QS. The closing date is Saturday, December 10.