Shooting Star Chase welcomed the X Factor semi-finalists to Shooting Star House in Hampton, where the contestants met with children and their families ahead of the release of the X Factor charity single – some of the proceeds of which Shooting Star Chase will benefit from.

Ben Haenow, Fleur East, Lauren Platt and Andrea Faustini surprised the families on Tuesday (2nd December) and spent the afternoon seeing for themselves how Shooting Star Chase make every moment count for children with life-limiting conditions in London and Surrey. The semi-finalists spent time talking with children, signing autographs, posing for photographs and taking part in Christmas arts and crafts.

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Lauren Platt, who left the competition on Sunday 7th December, tells Shooting Star Chase about her experience of hospices: “Today has been fantastic and it’s such an honourr to be asked to come down here. My cousin is in a hospice at the moment so we visit her and it’s nice to be here because it feels like we’re doing the best we can to help and raise awareness for a good cause.

“To know the money from the charity single is going to Shooting Star Chase is a warming feeling; it’s comforting and it brings a lot of people hope which is the most important thing. It’s hard having part of your family in a hospice; it’s not an ideal situation. These hospices make a world of difference and you expect them to be dark but I’ve never seen so much positively in one room. It’s nice knowing these places make the best out of a bad situation.”

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Supported children from both hospices were asked to come to Hampton to meet the contestants, including William, a 15 year old who lives in Harrow and uses Shooting Star House, said: “They were all really friendly – it was really great to meet them. I talked to Ben about what happens here and lots of other things, including pizza! I want him to win the X Factor.”

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Karen Sugarman, Director of Fundraising for Shooting Star Chase, said about the single: “It was brilliant to be able to welcome the X Factor semi-finalists to Shooting Star Chase.  The children and teenagers were so excited when they walked through the door. We’re so grateful they took time out of their busy rehearsal schedules to meet some of the amazing families we care for. It’s fantastic to be benefiting from the proceeds of the charity single – which I’m sure will make number 1 in no time!”

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The X Factor winner’s single, which will be digitally released on the 14th December with the CD single in stores on the 17th December, will be in aid of Together for Short Lives. Syco will donate 100% of its profits from the sale of each CD single and download, and Together for Short Lives will distribute the funds raised to over 50 partner children’s charities, including Shooting Star Chase.

The two X Factor finalists will perform their prospective winner’s single live during The X Factor’s spectacular final at the SSE Wembley Arena and the song will be available to download immediately after The X Factor winner is crowned. The single will be the seventh charity release from The X Factor and the third winner’s single with proceeds going to charity. Previous releases have raised millions of pounds for causes such as Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Help For Heroes.

Did you see Elisha, a teenager supported by Shooting Star Chase on Sunday’s X Factor? Read Elisha’s story here