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Byline: Paul Suart

FAMILIES given hope by Birmingham Children's Hospital got the chance to raise a toast at its 150th anniversary celebrations yesterday.

Among those at the Alice In Wonderland themed tea party outside the Bullring was little Charlie Harris-Beard.

The toddler beat a rare form of leukaemia by undergoing four intensive cycles of chemotherapy - yet he was given only three months to live when the cancer reappeared.

But 21 month-old Charlie is now on the road to recovery after having a life-saving bone marrow transplant at BCH last October.

Mum Fiona, aged 30, from Kidderminster, said: "From the minute he was diagnosed, the staff were just outstanding. It's so important these people are recognised for what they do and that the public continue to support the hospital."

This Morning presenter Alison Hammond, whose 13-year-old niece Jasmine Page was the first person to have a heart transplant at the hospital, was also at the tea party.

The 37-year-old, from Kingstanding, said: "You hear about the great work they do but it didn't really affect me until Jasmine had a heart attack and was treated there. We are eternally grateful to the staff at BCH for all they have done for Jasmine.

"It's only right we show our support for the hospital and help to celebrate its 150th birthday."

Chinese Dragons, dhol drummers, Irish dancers and Britain's Got Talent ''balloonatic'' Steve Cousins, all performed at the tea party which continues outside the Bullring today.

Tied in to the anniversary celebrations is the Great Cake Bake, an appeal to raise funds for BCH.

Villa favourite Ian Taylor and ex-Blues star Michael Johnson, who both visited the hospital during their football careers, soaked up the carnival atmosphere at the party.

Taylor said: "Harry Moseley had a spell at the hospital last year and I visited him while he was there.

"It's clear when you go there that the care is fantastic - and I don't think the staff get enough credit."

Double trouble: Alison Hammond with Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee


Double trouble: Alison Hammond with Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee Family: Charlie Harris-Beard, mum Fiona, dad Joe and sister Ellie Louise meet Alice. Inset, Ex Villa star Ian Taylor and former Blues man Michael Johnson with the Mad Hatter.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 17, 2012
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