This week we are celebrating our 10th anniversary of 'raising a smile' with children in hospital across the North East of England. We have lots of events and activities taking place to mark the fact that we have worked with over 31,000 children and young people during our 10 years of delivery.
Obviously the timing of a new 'craze' by a small number of people wearing clown masks to attempt to scare members of the public isn't great for our celebrations. Today (Thursday 13th October) we normally deliver on the wards at the Great North Children's Hospital. As part of our celebrations we had also planned to site a stand in a public space to raise the profile of our programme and to share the news of our birthday celebrations. This would of involved having some extra Clown Doctors around the public spaces to interact with the public.
Sadly for us the GNCH hospital has been listed on an online website as one of a number of locations targetted by those wearing masks as a potential location to appear at. With this in mind and in consultation with staff from the GNCH we have agreed that the sensible thing to do is to not go ahead with our planned profile raising activities at the GNCH in public spaces at a time when the public are particularly sensitive to the appearance of a person wearing anything related to a Clown. We will still be delivering on the wards at GNCH today and we are dedicated to ensuring that those who need us most, the children in hospital at GNCH, won't be let down and disappointed because of actions by a small minority.
We will be rescheduling our celebrations at the GNCH and plan to go ahead with our profile raising activities at a suitable time in the near future when this 'craze' has passed.
We want to thank everyone especially our supporters at The Children's Foundation, the Newcastle Healthcare Charity and the Children's Heart Unit Fund for their ongoing support. Recent events will have no long-term impact on our programme and we look forward to another 10 years of raising a smile!
Best wishes to all,