1979. Charlotte Fairall
Charlotte Fairall, from Hampshire, has been working to improve care for children with cancer, in memory of her daughter Sophie, who tragically died of a rare stomach cancer aged 10 in September 2021.
Sophie had created a “bucket list” aiming for greater awareness of cancer symptoms, more toys in hospitals and better food for those visiting their loved ones. To help fulfil Sophie’s wishes, Charlotte has raised over £150,000 and worked with local hospital trusts to train more play specialists who can run session run sessions in hospital 7 days a week. She has also worked with the NHS Food Review to improve children’s meals in hospitals and sought to increase provision of hospital meals for the families of children spending long periods of time in hospital. Charlotte is also seeking to increase training and research into childhood cancer for health professionals, enabling them to better understand symptoms and how to care for children during their treatment.
In a personal letter to Charlotte, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Every day I write to someone in our country to thank them for their service to others. So as we approach World Cancer Day tomorrow, I want to thank you for your inspiring work to improve cancer care for children, in memory of your daughter, Sophie.
“It says something truly extraordinary about Sophie that during her illness she created a bucket list to help others. Your fundraising and all your work to fulfil her wishes is a wonderful legacy for your daughter, and a point of light in the lives of so many other families facing the trauma of childhood cancer.
“From promoting greater awareness of cancer symptoms, to training more play specialists and improving children’s food in hospitals, Sophie’s bucket list is already making a huge difference – and I know we all have so much more to do.”
Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE, Charlotte’s local MP who has championed her work, said:
“Charlotte has worked tirelessly to campaign for improved child cancer services, from diagnosis, research, experiences of patients, treatments and survivorship.
“This campaign makes a real tangible difference to other people’s lives. I can think of no one more deserving of this award, Charlotte has used an unimaginable tragedy to campaign for much needed change.
“I am enormously proud of her.”
“I am completely shocked to receive the Points of Light award. My 10-year-old daughter Sophie died of cancer in September 2021. She wanted things to change for other children and families in hospital. I made a promise to Sophie that I would complete her wishes for her.
“We created the charity, ‘Sophie’s Legacy’, and we now support hundreds of families every single week, making sure they have food, toiletries, clothes, and transport when in hospital with their child. I have also been working to create national changes with the NHS regarding feeding parents in hospital, increasing play provision and improving children’s food. I have been advocating for change with the Government in relation to how children are diagnosed, treated, and cared for with cancer.
“I couldn’t do any of this without my amazing team, volunteers, and supporters of the charity. Being recognised by the Prime Minister is a complete honour. Although Sophie is the true inspiration of the charity and the change that’s being made.”