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David Walliams visits Rainbows

TV personality David Walliams visited Rainbows on Thursday to meet the youngsters and read them some of his book.

After touring our facilities and learning more about the work we do, Mr Walliams described the hospice as “inspirational”.

He then set up a story time session where he read the Slightly Annoying Elephant as well extracts from Gangsta Granny to the overjoyed youngsters.

Mr Walliams also paid his respects to the family of Susan Taylor who tragically died while attempting to swim the English Channel for us last year.

Susan, 34, of Barwell, Leicestershire, took on the Channel swim challenge to raise money for Rainbows, where she was a much loved ambassador and fundraiser. Susan sadly suffered acute cardio respiratory failure and died just one mile off the French coast on July 14.

Mr Walliams, who was an inspiration to Susan, completed the Channel swim himself in 2006 when he was the same age as Susan. Just hours after her death, he tweeted messages of sympathy, as well as donating £1,000 to Rainbows, stating "Sending all my love to Susan's family and friends."

Speaking after his visit to Rainbows, Mr Walliams said: “'I first heard about Rainbows Hospice when Susan Taylor very sadly lost her life swimming the channel last year. I didn't know Susan personally, but I was very touched by her story. Susan was a great supporter of Rainbows, and she was raising money for the hospice when she died. Having visited yesterday I can see why Susan would undertake such a huge challenge for the hospice. Rainbows is very special. If you think a children's hospice has to be a sad place, you need to think again. The young people are brilliantly looked after by a very loving and caring team of staff. There is a real family atmosphere, and there was much fun and laughter when I visited. I absolutely loved my day at Rainbows, and I look forward to returning soon.”

Susan Taylor’s brother David added: “We are so pleased to be able to personally express our gratitude to Mr Walliams for the support he showed in the days following Susan’s death.  It was comforting to know that someone who inspired Susan to follow her Channel Swim ambition was thinking about her and her family.”

Geoff Ellis, chief executive at Rainbows, added: “We would like to say a big thank you to David Walliams for visiting Rainbows and spending time with the children and young people, everybody loved him. We were delighted to show him around the hospice so that he could see for himself the vital work that we do at Rainbows to care for hundreds of children with terminal and life-limited illnesses. This year we are celebrating 20 years of care and to have the support of personalities like Mr Walliams is invaluable to us.”