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Chef Barrie recently presented our BBC Radio 4 appeal, encouraging listeners to support our charity.

Here he explains how he got involved with the charity and why he thinks the Giggle Doctors are so important.

 “I met Dr Flowerpot in 2018 when I was filming for the Great British Menu at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and within about ten minutes I was dressed in a Giggle Doctor coat and following Dr Flowerpot around the ward. We visited a young girl and started playing a game of ‘Dobble’, then all of a sudden everyone in the room was laughing. The young girl was made up and there was a smile on her face. Humor can be almost a natural medicine and Dr Flowerpot quickly turned around the situation from everyone feeling down to everyone being very happy. I saw how it can be really special to be able to laugh for a good hour, when you would normally be dreading what is coming next. There was a pulse of energy in the hospital.

I wanted to find out more about the difference Giggle Doctors can make to children’s time in hospital. The Giggle Doctors bring a light and happiness back into the room. They help provide last happy memories for the families. Dr Flowerpot told me that sometimes she takes the brothers and sisters to one side to play games with them. This support the Giggle Doctors provided kept that family atmosphere between everybody. You can’t beat it when you leave the room and there’s a big smile on the kids face, in a situation which is normally very frightening.

I believe the Giggle Doctors provide a triangle of happiness, three levels of support. They support the NHS staff, helping take the pressure off them and allowing them to focus on getting the kids better. And they also provide support of the families and the patients. It’s a support network in these tough times and I’d say it is three-way; happiness, it is essential, engaging, it takes pressure off of the staff. It is a complete support network that needs support itself, it is an essential support network in my eyes. You can’t go wrong with laughter, can you?

Seeing the smiles on the children is massive and was actually great to be part of”

You can listen to the Radio 4 appeal on BBC Iplayer…