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Rosie's Friends

Local charities join forces for children’s cancer ward Christmas party

Friends of Rosie has joined forces with three other Manchester children’s cancer charities to create a special Christmas party for children currently undergoing cancer treatment on Ward 86, the oncology ward at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The Friends of Rosie Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Milly’s Smiles, Holly’s Hearts, and The Joshua Tree Foundation have all come together to jointly host this special event. Each charity exists solely to support children with cancer and together they wanted to do something special for the children and their families.

The invitation-only event is taking place in Manchester this Saturday 9 December. It is exclusively for the children, their siblings, and parents, to give them all a much-needed break from the hospital environment and enjoy a bit of festive cheer at a very difficult time in all their lives.

The party is entirely free of charge for those invited and has been funded thanks to kind donations and support from many businesses and individuals across Greater Manchester.

From a magic show and festive party games to a special Santa’s Grotto and Christmas crafts, there will be plenty to help the children and their families to relax, have fun and make memories. It’s also an invaluable opportunity for siblings to spend some much-needed quality time together doing something fun as a family.

Says Friends of Rosie Parent Trustee, Joanne Crosby, “As a parent who has spent Christmas on the ward with my daughter, Ruth Grace, I understand the desperate need for a change of scenery and the desire to give your child and their siblings a bit of normality and Christmas magic.

“We’ve been blown away by the kindness of so many companies and supporters across Manchester who have helped to make this party a reality. From catering companies and the Royal Northern College of Music to Martin’s Bakery and many, many corporate donors.

“A special mention is needed for Bruntwood SciTech who have gone above and beyond by donating the venue space, staff volunteers and car parking and have helped to make this event possible. This really is a joint effort for the children and we’re sure they’ll have a fantastic day thanks to the kindness of others.”

Notes about the charities

Friends of Rosie Children’s Cancer Research Fund

When five-year-old Rosie Larkin lost her battle against cancer in 1991, her family and friends were determined to carry on the fight to help other children affected by cancer. They set up Friends of Rosie, an independent charity based in Manchester dedicated to raising money for pump-priming research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood cancer.

Milly’s Smiles

Milly’s Smiles was started following the loss of 11-year-old Milly who passed away from leukaemia in September 2015. Milly’s Smiles provide a welcome bag, known as a Milly Bag, to each newly diagnosed family admitted onto Ward 84, at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Ward 3B at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Ward L31 at Leeds Children’s Hospital and Ward E39 at Nottingham University Hospital.

The Milly Bags contain items that will help during the first few days, and weeks, of their hospital stay. www.millyssmiles.org

Holly’s Hearts

Holly’s Hearts was set up by the family of Holly Prince who passed away in 2022 from a Wilms Tumour which is a rare kidney cancer. To honour Holly, Holly’s Hearts create heartwarming memories for children with cancer. Their main aim is to give children gifts, experiences, and respite to put a smile on their faces and create memories that they will treasure forever. Holly’s Hearts Facebook

The Joshua Tree Foundation

The Joshua Tree was founded in 2006 by Lynda and David Hill after their son was diagnosed with leukaemia. They discovered a distinct lack of support services for all family members during the traumatic experience of childhood cancer. It’s their mission that every family affected by childhood cancer gets the support they need. www.thejoshuatree.org.uk


Katrina London

Katrina has specialised in the field of occupational personal injury for over 35 years and has worked exclusively for the victims of asbestos related diseases for the last 20 years.  Katrina is an APIL Accredited Occupational Disease and Asbestos Disease Specialist and Senior Litigator and has Law Society Personal Injury Accreditation. 


Carla Nuttall

Carla has over 20 years’ experience specialising in strategic communications, engagement and marketing across the public and private sector, including the BBC, Manchester Metropolitan University and Muse Developments. She is currently Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing for The Growth Company, an award-winning social enterprise that enables growth, creates jobs and improves lives.