Final chance to book your snowflake!

The deadline to see your name next your own sparkling snowflake this Christmas, all in aid of Sheffield Children’s, is now just days away.

Over 200 individuals, schools, groups and businesses have sponsored a snowflake so far this year, in a bid to raise much needed funds for The Children’s Hospital Charity.

A favourite in the festive calendar, the initiative brings people together with a shared goal to build a better future for the staff, patients and the families at Sheffield Children’s.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to cause hardship among local businesses, this year has seen more communities come together to sponsor snowflakes, with streets and suburbs uniting to give what they can and support the fundraising.

The Charity is now urging anyone who wants to join the effort to do so before Friday’s booking deadline (20th November).

In return for pledging funds, each sponsor will see their snowflake sparkle with an attached name tag recognising your contribution for all to see. Sponsorship starts at just £500, with the fundraising not due until March 2021.

Among this year’s sponsors are four girls who have used their fundraising to unite their local community during the lockdown. Sisters Becca (12) and Kaitlin (10) have teamed up with their neighbours, sisters Martha (10) and Nancy (8) to run 500 laps of their Sheffield street.

Becca and Kaitlin’s mum Estelle explains their motivation: “The girls wanted a sporty challenge. Our street enjoyed supporting the NHS with the weekly claps, so we thought we’d combine the two with a snowflake for our street and some running.

“We were keen for the girls to enjoy some safe, social exercise with so many after school events cancelled and this was always going to be easier if there was a challenge involved. They leapt at the opportunity to fundraise as everyone knows how wonderful the Christmas snowflakes are.

“It also meant we could unite the street with something positive again. Our community has really flourished since lockdown and we’ve become closer together, but the morale was starting to flag with the ongoing restrictions.”

For every ten laps, they cover a mile in distance, meaning they will have each covered 50 by the end of their challenge and neighbours soon came out to offer their encouragement.

When the girls reached their halfway point of 250 laps on Halloween, they ran in fancy dress with residents gathering on their driveways to clap and check in with one another.

Martha and Nancy’s mum Clare adds: “They’ve done around 350 laps so far. It’s usually after their tea, in the dark and often in the rain too, but the girls never complain.

“Initially they all ran together, 2 metres apart from non-siblings, we were lucky that the street is a dead-end so they could spread across both pavements. But now we have the second lockdown, we stagger the runs, so they just run in their pairs.

“They have glow sticks, which were kindly provided by a neighbour and if there is any sign of them slowing down, we just remind them what an important job they are doing for Sheffield Children’s and they set off again with renewed vigour.”

“They have done different things to make it fun, ringing a bell every time they complete a lap to wearing onesies and running with big teddies on their shoulders. The girls’ friendship has blossomed during the challenge, which is brilliant at a time when our social circles are so restricted. They have been a ray of happiness for the street.”

With the support of neighbours, friends and relatives, the girls quickly surpassed their first fundraising target of £500 for a small snowflake, raising it to £1,000 instead for a medium snowflake.

Estelle continued: “Almost everyone on the street has sponsored the girls and it has been a source of joy for everyone, which is exactly what we hoped for. We are amazed how they have taken on this challenge and never looked back.

“It is not a competition between them, they work together as a team encouraging whoever needs to do more laps, often actually running extra laps themselves to keep someone company. They are really motivated to keep going, reach their goal and see their snowflake!”

This year’s display will support Sheffield Children’s where it is needed most, including with the £2.75M redevelopment of the hospital’s Cancer and Leukaemia ward.

To support The Children’s Hospital Charity’s snowflake appeal, email snowflakes@tchc.org.uk or click here.