Eve’s Army goes marching on

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A GROUP of Stannington schoolchildren took to the stage at a major regional event to sing for their friend.

Eve Anderson was treated at the Great North Children’s Hospital at Newcastle’s RVI following an unexplained bleed in her brain last year.

She was found to have an inoperable brain tumour and now has a form of ‘locked-in’ syndrome with complications. Although the nine-year-old is aware of what’s going on around her, she is unable to communicate and is confined to a wheelchair.

Some of her friends, a mixture of Stannington First School and Chantry Middle School and Technology College who called themselves Eve’s Army, did a musical number from the Beatles in Stannington Village Hall last July to show their support.

And once the Newcastle Healthcare Charity found out about plans to do a song of their own, a family connection enabled this to become a reality.

A Song for Eve was recently recorded and made into a DVD and the children also got to perform it live last week at the 130th annual Hoppings Fair on Newcastle’s Town Moor.

It is raising funds and awareness of the Ready for Home Rehabilitation Fund, which has been set up by the Newcastle Healthcare Charity to bridge the gap between hospital and home for any children in the North East with similar needs to Eve.

Her father Ian Anderson said: “All of us at Stannington Village Hall for Eve’s Day were surprised by how good the performance of ‘I’ll get by with a little help from my friends’ was and we said it would be great if we could take it further.

“It didn’t go anywhere for a while but then Ken Grey (Newcastle Healthcare Charity Chairman Trustees) heard about it and he got in touch with his son Tony, who is a professional musician.

“He quickly wrote the song and got his friend Leon Hughes to compose a tune before getting a group of about 15 children from Stannington to record it with them. Eve’s friends have been great since she took poorly and this is a fantastic song. Hopefully, people will make a donation to the charity as well as listening to it.

“The money will be a big help because we don’t want other parents to go through the same issues we had in the transition from hospital to home with things like transport, equipment and adaptions.

“In our case, the The Great North Children’s Hospital got in touch with the Benfield Motor Group and it supplied us with a suitable vehicle for Eve whilst we wait for her permanent specialist vehicle to arrive. We can’t thank them enough because it gives her the independence to get out and about and took away the additional pain we were suffering.

“The consultants don’t know if she will make a partial or full recovery, but we will do everything we can whilst there is a chance of this and we’re looking at the possibility of taking her to a specialist unit in Surrey.

“The response we’ve had from the community, including businesses in Morpeth such as Stait Photography, Urban Spa and Dave’s The Gentlemens Barbers, has been amazing. Eve’s Army is growing all the time.”

Around 10 children a year are treated at the Great North Children’s Hospital at the RVI with very rare and extremely complex neurological disorders that often mean the child is a hospital in-patient for many months.

Harry and Emily Dougal were among the children on stage at the Hoppings.

Their mother Bernadette said: “They were a little bemused by all the publicity the song has received, but like the others they were proud of themselves for what they had achieved and they were very excited to perform it on such a big stage.There is just the one playground at Stannington First School so children older and younger than Eve got to know her and everyone in the village has been keen to help out with fund-raising.”

It is hoped that A Song for Eve will raise awareness of the new fund and encourage donations via the charity’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/readyforhome A free download of the song and a DVD is also available at www.readyforhome.org