My campaign to help my daughter’s saviours

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I was making progress in a career I loved and thrilled at becoming a mother.

For my daughter Jenny to be diagnosed with Down’s had a powerful effect on me.

She had a number of serious health conditions and spent a lot of time in hospital.

The agonising hours in waiting rooms, the constant worry… caring for your sick child and watching them suffer is one of the hardest things anyone can ever face.

It was difficult to keep it all together. Although Jenny is 32 now and in good health, back then I could not know what the future was to bring.

Thank God, then, for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

They helped us at a very dark time and I resolved to help repay them in whatever way I could.

Since then my career has given me the opportunity to do that and like so many others who help support GOSH it was my experience with them that provided the push to action.

I am now joint CEO and executive chair of Trafalgar Entertainment Group.

We own and operate theatres and produce shows for the West End and international touring.

My days are spent on finance and acquisition strategies and in the evening I am nearly always at the theatre in search of the latest stage sensation or showstopping musical.

I am also chair of the Tick Tock Club at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity – a giving club for philanthropists, foundations and companies.

We raise money for new buildings and equipment to support patients and their families through what can be an incredibly traumatic time.

At first glance the glamorous theatre business would seem to be the polar opposite of medical research but I was determined to bring my contacts to help GOSH.

This worked to great effect during the Theatres For Theatres appeal in 2010.

All over the country, generous audiences and staff worked together putting on special performances, appearing at fundraising events and even shaking buckets in the foyers for pantomimes and family shows to raise more than £5million for specialist operating theatres.

However, my affinity with GOSH is not just because of their wonderful care for my own daughter.

There is also a curious link with my company’s first London theatre, the Duke of York’s.

It was the setting for the first stage performance of Peter Pan in 1904 and its author JM Barrie gifted the rights to the hospital in perpetuity.

Since then a proportion of royalties from all performances of this children’s classic go to GOSH.

BY NOW I knew the hospital staff and when they took us on visits I could see how philanthropy transforms the facilities available for patients.

I volunteered to chair the fourth Tick Tock Club appeal to help to create a new iMRI (Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging) suite.

“Imagine being able to transform the lives of seriously ill children all over the world,” staff told me.

This new suite would allow surgeons to conduct brain scans mid-operation, improving their accuracy.

It would also allow their world-class surgical team to share expertise internationally.

The club has so far raised £12million.

Donations from individuals and charitable trusts have boosted funds raised from events including Daniel Galvin Bracken’s A Night At The Museum, a star-studded dinner at the Natural History Museum hosted by celebrity hairstylist Louise Galvin.

We are now well on the way to our target.

I’m thrilled that the new iMRI suite will improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain conditions in children, cutting visits to the operating theatre and shortening the time the family has to wait for news.

But the global potential through sharing of skills is there too.

Technology that allows medics to conference during procedures has the potential to save time and money when resources are needed elsewhere.

It also opens up opportunities to learn for medics in remote communities.

Neurosurgeons at GOSH see more children with brain tumours and perform more operations for patients with epilepsy than any other hospital in the UK.

To be able to share this bank of knowledge is a priceless gift.

So next time you are asked for your spare change at the end of a theatre performance, remember just how far it could go.

Dame Rosemary Squire’s company Trafalgar Entertainment Group is presenting the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of The King And I at the London Palladium from now until September.

Dame Rosemary has helped to raise more than £17million for the GOSH Children’s Charity since 2010.



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