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Musical therapy

167. Carolyn Mayling

A woman from Maidenhead founded a charity offering music therapy to severely ill children in memory of her daughter.

10 Downing Street

Carolyn was presented with her Point of Light award by former Eastenders star Lucy Benjamin and Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society during a visit to The John Radcliffe Hospital this morning. Santa was also on hand to help the Minister give out presents to the children.

Carolyn Mayling, joint director of Redroofs School for the Performing Arts, founded Rosie’s Rainbow Fund in 2004 after her daughter Rosie died aged 11 of vasculitis, a severe illness affecting the blood vessels. Rosie’s Rainbow Fund offers music therapy to children in hospital and special needs schools and provides support for the parents of the children. Carolyn devotes many hours a week raising funds for the charity’s work in hospitals and special needs schools and raising awareness on behalf of the organisation. Rosie’s Rainbow Fund works in three hospitals and helps approximately 250 hospitalised children a year to access therapy.

The idea for Rosie’s Rainbow Fund came from Carolyn’s daughter Rosie, who spent six months receiving treatment in hospital. During her stay, Rosie, who was a talented performer, planned to raise money when she was better and put on shows to make life more bearable for the children on the wards. For Carolyn and her family, the strain of having a child in hospital for a long stay became increasingly difficult, and they wanted to offer support to other families in a similar situation.

Rosie’s Rainbow Fund has fulfilled Rosie’s wish to bring music to the wards. The organisation funds approximately 20 therapy sessions a week across three hospitals, The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, and Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury. The parents of hospitalised children can benefit from aromatherapy sessions, which help reduce stress, and the charity also offers a bereavement support service. The charity provides music therapy sessions and equipment to 8 special needs schools and respite centres in the area.

Carolyn remains the driving force behind the charity. She pays visits to the three hospitals to support the parents of hospitalised children and complement the work of the music therapists. She is an active fundraiser who has raised around £750,000 through activities such as large scale shows with hundreds of child performers and line ups of West End artistes and celebrities, fund raising balls and family fun days, and she also seeks to raise the profile of the charity by speaking at clubs and businesses. The moving song she has written entitled “You Paint The Rainbow” is the charity’s theme song and a new arrangement and recording of the song is being launched on December 2nd. Outside of her voluntary work, Carolyn cares for her five-year old son. Her older daughter Ellie is a trustee of the charity and helps with the running of the school. Lucy Benjamin, star of EastEnders, and Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey are both graduates of Redroofs and serve as patrons of Rosie’s Rainbow Fund.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Carolyn has turned personal heartache into a wonderful legacy for her daughter. Rosie’s Rainbow Fund brings joy to children who have been in hospital for a long time and provides invaluable support to parents going through painful and difficult times. I am delighted to recognise Carolyn as the 167th Point of Light winner.”

Carolyn said:

“I am thrilled and honoured to receive the Point Of Light award. My beautiful daughter Rosie is the inspiration for all that has been achieved through the work of Rosie’s Rainbow Fund. Her motto was always “Don’t talk about it DO it” and I simply enable her legacy to continue and DO IT because of her and for her. I was immensely proud of her courage and goodness and hope she is proud of her mum as she looks down from her rainbow”.

Theresa May MP said:

“Carolyn Mayling’s story is an inspiration for everyone in Maidenhead. Having suffered the tragedy of losing her daughter, and knowing how difficult it can be for children who need a long stay in hospital, she has built up Rosie’s Rainbow Fund to offer support to sick and disabled children and their families. I congratulate Carolyn on this deserved award.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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