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Tony Hadley MBE officially opens music studio at Christopher’s

May 9, 2023

Music icon, Tony Hadley MBE visited Shooting Star Children’s Hospices to officially open our bespoke music studio and spend time chatting with children and families.

During the visit, Vice-President Tony, who will be celebrating 20 years supporting us, got involved in some of activities, including making some tambourines to be used during a special Makaton version of his hit Gold, performed by children and staff. Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate, which many of the children at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and their families use.

Tony Hadley, who was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Years Honours List for his charitable services and support of outstanding work of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “It’s a pleasure to come back to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and officially open their fantastic music studio. Music is such an amazing way to communicate, so to have such a space for children and young adults to come and enjoy is brilliant. I am honoured to be part of the charity and to continue to support them to help families now and in the future.”

Karen Sugarman MBE, Executive Vice-President at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “Tony’s tireless support of our work over the last 20 years has been incredible. His generosity devoting his time at our hospices and performing to raise vital funds has made such a difference and we cannot thank him enough. It was a pleasure to welcome Tony to Christopher’s and have him officially open our music studio in the hospice garden.”   

The music studio is a space specially tailored for children with life-limiting conditions and their siblings to experience and enjoy the benefits of music therapy. The creation of the studio, which is complete with soundproofed walls, double glazed windows, and underfloor heating, was made possible thanks to the generosity of corporate supporters Osborne Construction and the Smyth family, who helped fund the build and materials.

The dedicated space allows children to freely express some of the complex and confusing feelings they are faced with. Together with their music therapist they can find ways to overcome feelings that threaten to overwhelm. Music can help soothe and stimulate children and serve as an outlet for non-verbal communication. The studio is also used for dramatherapy and counselling sessions for parents.

Sarah Hodkinson, Head of Family Support Services said, “Sharing how you are feeling can be difficult and scary for adults, and in many ways much harder for children. Having a safe space is vital in supporting this, so that the delicate process of therapy can take place. Every detail of the studio is designed to help this, from the positioning of the cabin in the garden amongst nature, to the recording equipment that will capture musical memories. Knowing how important this space is to children, young people and their parents fills us with joy and excitement and to have such a renowned musician and supporter, Tony Hadley, to officially open it, is just wonderful.” 

Tony Hadley’s visit is the latest in a number of activities he has undertaken as Vice-President of the charity. Alongside performing with his band at some of the charity’s most high-profile events over the years, including at a Buckingham Palace, St James’s, and The Shooting Star Ball. Tony also won £64,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire for the charity and hosted a special virtual concert fundraiser during the pandemic to raise vital funds. Most recently he attended the ICAP Charity Day with fellow Vice-President Simon Cowell, in support of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.