FEATURE: How just one person can change children's lives

From bringing the Herd of Sheffield sculpture trail to the city this summer, to organising balls, races and bake sales, The Children's Hospital Charity and their supporters are on a mission to make the incredible Sheffield Children's Hospital even better.

Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 9:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 10:24 am
The families of Carl Ryde and Tilly Pickering celebrate the results of their event

Teacher Carl Ryde, from Mexborough, who – when he heard that the daughter of his old colleague, 10 year-old Tilly Pickering, was suffering from leukaemia - decided to do everything in his power to help raise money for her hospital ward by organising the Dearne Dash.

“It was on the morning of the run that we realised that the event was going to be bigger than we thought,” said Carl.

Tilly with her brother Isaac and Carl

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“All I expected was for a few friends to take part – maybe 20 or even 30. But loads of people turned up at nine o’clock on the dot and donated a good sum of money and it just kept on that way.

“Everyone was so generous.

“A Doncaster company called Grab ‘N’ Go supplied over 300 bottles of water and juice for free. Just like a lot of people from the area, the owner’s son had been treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, so they really got behind the event.

“The weather was perfect on the day and it was just brilliant to see lots of happy faces and people coming together and to have a really fun time, all in support of an amazing hospital and charity.

The main entrance of the new hospital wing

“It took a fair bit of effort and commitment to organise but we’re already looking ahead to our plans for next year.”

Tilly’s dad Sean said that he couldn’t quite believe it when he found out what Carl was planning.

He said: “It was a bit overwhelming really.

“Tilly couldn’t attend the event because she was just dreadfully ill on the day. But being able to show her a video of all the runners – it got a bit of a smile out of her and it made such a difference to her morale.”

Tilly with her brother Isaac and Carl

“Next time I’m going to try and be there to start the race with a megaphone,” said Tilly. “

“Or I might buy a water pistol which I could spray at the runners. It would make them run faster because it will cool them down. I want to say well done to the runners because they did a really good job!”

When fundraisers join Team Theo, whether that be by hosting an event or by making a one off donation, they have the option of choosing where and how they want their money to be spent.

Carl thought it was only right that Tilly have the final say on how the charity use the money raised through the Dearne Dash.

The main entrance of the new hospital wing

She chose to donate the £700 raised to Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s M3 ward, where she is currently being treated.

Cheryl Davidson, community fundraiser for The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “It’s amazing to see how much just one person can achieve when they make a plan and stick to it. Carl put so much effort into his Dearne Dash and the money he raised will make such a difference. We want to say a massive thank you to him and we can’t wait to see what he gets up to next year.”

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is one of just four children’s hospitals in the UK and The Children’s Hospital Charity funds four key areas within the hospital.

They are specialist equipment, research into the prevention and cure of childhood illnesses, new facilities to extend the range of treatment provided and improvements to the hospital environment for patients.

Since 2012 the charity have raised over £10m for the Make it Better appeal, which is funding a brand new wing of Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The new wing will include 48 en suite bedrooms, new physiotherapy rooms, an outdoor area for respite and reflection and much more besides.

With the continued support of incredible people like Carl and Tilly, the charity is aiming to raise a further £3m in the years 2016-2017 for more life-saving equipment and facilities that go above and beyond the NHS provision.

If you want to join Team Theo and support the work of The Children’s Hospital Charity then head to The Children’s Hospital Charity and see how you can get involved.


In 2015/2016 the charity broke the £3 million annual fundraising barrier for the first time ever.

The charity hosted 527 events

414 runners and 171 cyclists went the distance to raise money for Team Theo, along with 50 fundraisers who took part in Xtreme sports like Tough Mudder and triathlons.

87 Artfelt workshops were delivered, giving over 650 children 479 hours of distraction through art.

Every year the charity funds up to £250,000 worth of projects for the hospital’s dedicated research team.