Doncaster singer hits the right notes for charity

Claire Vinkesteijn with husband Olivier and daughter Lily
Claire Vinkesteijn with husband Olivier and daughter Lily

A Doncaster-born mum and musician is tuning up for a special show in honour of the charities which helped her premature baby daughter.

Singer and pianist Claire Vinkesteijn, from Balby, rose to fame in Europe as a finalist in Holland’s Got Talent and is now returning to Doncaster for her first headline show.

She is performing in aid of three charities after her daughter, Lily, was born six weeks early in December 2012.

Claire was hospitalised from 31 weeks of pregnancy due to a condition called pre-eclampsia, a condition suffered by pregnant women which can lead to serious complications for mother and baby.

Claire, who appeared on Holland’s Got Talent in 2013, said: “Medical staff were trying to balance what was best for my child – staying in mum for as long as possible – with the safety of my health, which was deteriorating.”

Lily was born at 34 weeks, weighing just 4lbs.

Claire said: “Her lungs were underdeveloped and she stopped breathing at ten minutes old. She was resuscitated by the emergency medical team and then put into the special care baby unit.”

Lily’s condition got worse so she had to be transferred from the London hospital where she was born to a specialist neonatal unit in the Whittington Hospital.

Claire, who was still seriously ill, was unable to travel with her daughter and so her devoted husband, Olivier, travelled between the two hospitals to be with his wife and daughter.

“It was a really difficult time for all of us,” said Claire.

“I first held Lily when she was three-days-old. It was very emotional. While we were in hospital I vowed to give something back to all the people who helped us when we both got well again.”

Claire has therefore organised a show featuring a live nine-piece band at CAST in Doncaster on June 12.

The doctor who Claire credits with saving Lily’s life is the president of Whittington Babies, so she will donate a proportion of the profits to the cause.

The rest will be split between Pop n Grow – a charity which specialises in providing tiny clothing for premature babies – and Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s neonatal ward, where Claire and her siblings were born. Lily was well enough to be taken home in January 2013 and is now a healthy two-year-old.

She said: “You wouldn’t believe it now when you look at her, what she went through. She’s actually tall for her age now.” Tickets for Claire’s show are available by calling 01302 303 959, or visiting www.castindoncaster.com site.

Donate to the charities at www.justgiving.com/Claire-Vinkesteijn1