At Acorns, one of the things we will remember most dearly is the amount of pure joy he brought to children and families. His visits to our hospices over many years were always filled with smiles and laughter.
During an especially memorable Christmas visit to our Black Country hospice in 2019 he delighted children and families with poems, songs and stories. It was a wonderful to see faces light-up in his presence. Benjamin wrote warmly about the visit in an article for the Guardian.
It was at this visit that Benjamin formed a close bond with Acorns Ambassador, Assya Shabir. The friendship continued and the following year the pair were recorded in conversation for a feature aired on BBC Radio 4.
In 2021, Benjamin accepted our invitation to become a Patron and in 2022 he joined forces with fellow Acorns Patron Steven Knight for a Peaky Blinders themed charity event at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
Benjamin was someone who understood deeply our ethos. He understood that at Acorns, not only do families have all their clinical and emotional needs met, but it’s a place where they can create precious, lasting memories – in a world where the future can seem so uncertain.
In his own words, Benjamin said of Acorns: “I am so inspired by the kids, and I also have an enormous amount of respect for the people who work there. I want to hug and kiss them, I want to tell them how much I love them, but I just shake their hands and act normal.
“Not only do they care for these kids, some of whom are not expected to reach adulthood; they also look after their mums, dads, brothers and sisters, even grandparents. The existence of children’s hospices is something many of us feel uncomfortable with – most people tend to associate hospices with older people. I was one of them, until I first visited.