In the summer of 2014, singer-songwriter and CRY Patron Pixie Lott performed her pop smash hits for students at 5 schools across the UK in order to spread the word about heart checks for young people.
Pixie, 23 years old, became a CRY Patron almost 4 years ago and has been a proactive supporter of the charity ever since. In March, Pixie delivered two electrifying performances at schools in Bromley and Eltham to raise awareness – and she was eager to increase her impact with a summer tour across schools in Kent and the Midlands. Pixie said, “I feel it’s so important to raise awareness and will continue to use my role as Patron to help spread the word about the charity’s vital work.”
Pixie was accompanied by a representative of CRY for each of the 5 school visits on the summer tour; James Brown, Paul Daniels (twice), Peter Teale and Stevie Rennie. Every CRY speaker has been personally affected by sudden cardiac death and told their story, urging the vital importance of cardiac screening.
Kent – June 24th
On the morning of Tuesday 24th June, Pixie joined the boys and girls of The High Weald Academy as they went purple to officially unveil their new £1.2 million sports hall.
Alison Cox MBE, CRY Founder and CEO, and James Brown, CRY Representative for Kent, attended the High Weald performance. James’s wife Katrina tragically died aged 30 of sudden adult death syndrome (SADS) in 2006 whilst taking part in a 10K run.
Nicola Payne, a teenage pupil at High Weald, suffered heart failure whilst playing sports in April 2014. In tribute, the new sports hall was dedicated to Nicola, and pupils at the academy were all wearing Nicky’s favourite colour, purple, to mark the occasion.
CRY supporter Paul Daniels was present at a second Pixie performance later that day at Aylesford School Sports College. Paul’s son Ben died aged 15 from a previously undiagnosed heart condition in 2011 and he has been raising funds to screen local youngsters ever since.
Paul reported: “The school gave a fabulous reception to Pixie Lott and rolled out the red carpet. The students were keen to hear about her career and her involvement with CRY. Pixie certainly raised awareness that young people can be screened for their cardiac health and Pixie’s visit put that opportunity on the map. The school have now committed to offer screening to the students of the school. It was a top performance by Pixie and she certainly won over many new fans.”
Midlands – June 25th
CRY Representative for the West Midlands, Peter Teale, attended the Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA). Peter’s daughter Zoe died from sudden adult death syndrome (SADS) in 2009, aged 23.
Peter reported: “When they asked me to talk about my experience and about CRY I thought it would be to a class and that would be it. Instead, I had to stand on stage and talk to 2 whole age groups. Was I nervous? Yes, very.
I introduced myself and then gave a hard fact the CRY way, did they know 12 young adults a week die in the UK? Do you get their attention – by God, you do. I had complete silence, then I went on and told my story, and how a certain Alison Cox helped me all the way from our first phone chat, what Professor Mary Sheppard did for me, and of the outstanding CRY doctor Professor Sharma. I had teachers in tears, I did this twice, and at the end Pixie’s mom called me backstage and gave me a hug – she said, ‘Do you know how powerful that was?’ and, ‘When Alison said you were passionate I know what she means!’
Pixie was great too, so was the principal and her deputy – who have since emailed me. So yes, without a doubt, this was a total success – and with such a young high profile entertainer it hit home hard.”
The Birmingham Orminston Academy’s student radio station, B2 Radio, interviewed Pixie about CRY and her support after her performance as well as CRY Representative Peter Teale’s powerful speech.
In the afternoon, CRY supporter Stevie Rennie spoke at Pixie’s second performance of the day at St Augustine’s Catholic High School, Redditch. Stevie’s 25 year old son Scott, an Olympic hopeful in the GB rowing team, died suddenly in 2009 from a previously undiagnosed heart condition.
Stevie reported: “The staff and pupils were absolutely wonderful, they made me very welcome and looked after me but more importantly they listened to me, this I believe shows what an amazing school St. Augustines is. I emphasised the need for all young people to look into screening facilities and I encouraged everyone to look at CRY’s website, to read the literature handed out and to discuss what they read with other people – in so doing they would be spreading awareness.
Pixie was amazing, she sang and included a Q & A. Pixie and her mother, make up artist and tour manager, were lovely people, I would like to thank them for their support. Between them they created a very relaxed atmosphere making it a most enjoyable and unique experience for everyone. I think nearly all the pupils at St Augustine’s managed to get a “selfie” with Pixie.”
The visit to St Augustine’s received national as well as regional coverage, with reports from both ITV Central News and BBC Midlands Today.
Kent – July 16th
CRY supporter Paul Daniels attended the final Pixie performance of the tour at Harvey Grammar School, describing again the anguish of losing his son Ben and the importance of screening for cardiovascular conditions.
Paul reported: “I’ve heard Pixie sing 3 times now in a school assembly and from a performance perspective this was her best yet. She was on top form. She was also incredibly engaging and attentive to the students, she caused quite a stir. The school has had 3 assemblies in prep for the visit and each time have been building knowledge of CRY and what it does.”