The Children's Trust Lifeline


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The Children's Trust

Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond presents an appeal on behalf of The Children's Trust, the UK's leading charity for children with brain injuries.


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Charlie was, to me, perfect.

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He's got two grown-up sisters,

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so he was the centre of attention all the time.

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He was very bubbly. He was alive, you know.

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We was going to see his grandma and grandad in Spain.

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We woke up in the morning. Charlie said he wanted to go

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and see his great-nan.

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When I went out, he was floating in the pool...

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..so I screamed and jumped in.

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Just praying for them not to take him.

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I know how suddenly life can change.

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How one moment everything's fine and the next moment, it's not.

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Back in 2006, I was in a very high-speed,

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and subsequently very highly publicised car crash.

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I was pulled from the wreckage with extensive brain injuries.

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The road to recovery was, for me, long and tough,

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but it was a lot tougher for my family.

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I've been extremely lucky - some brain injuries can leave

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a person needing constant care and long-term rehabilitation.

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Imagine how much worse that is when it happens to a child.

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He was blue, he wasn't breathing.

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We pulled into accident and emergency.

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I just remember jumping out and screaming,

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"Someone help my baby."

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Charlie was in a coma for a week and a half.

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His brain had been starved of oxygen by the accident,

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meaning nobody could be sure how he would respond when he came round.

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I sat and read to him, played his favourite songs

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and then there's just no response. Really hard.

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That was Charlie, laying in the bed,

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one eye one way, one the other, you know.

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It was now clear that Charlie had sustained serious brain injuries.

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We didn't know if he'd ever speak or eat or talk or anything.

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You know, we just didn't know,

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nobody could give you any answers, and it was really, really lonely.

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Thankfully, there is a charity dedicated to helping

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families like Anne Marie's. It's called The Children's Trust

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and it's the UK's leading charity for children with brain injuries.

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I've supported The Children's Trust for years as Vice President -

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and I've seen how this charity helps

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young people with really complex health needs

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rebuild their lives.

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On behalf of The Children's Trust, I'm asking you to help these kids

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and their families have the best life possible.

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At The Children's Trust specialist rehabilitation centre

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in Tadworth, Surrey,

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they help children make the best recovery they can

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by offering everything from physio

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and hydrotherapy, to speech and language therapy.

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The charity also aids children's psychological recovery

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through music and play.

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When Anne-Marie heard about the Children's Trust centre,

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she was keen for Charlie to come and stay.

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When he first came to The Children's Trust,

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he didn't like being handled, and used to cry constantly.

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They've worked very hard, especially Belinda, with his physio.

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She's amazing, she's got him standing.

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If Belinda's put him in a different position, she'll teach me

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how to do the physio with him.

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Like Charlie, many children who visit The Children's Trust

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need lifelong care as a result of their brain injury.

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So preparing the whole family for life once they leave

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is also a key part of what goes on here.

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The Children's Trust is an amazing place.

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I've learned a lot so when we go home, we'll be OK.

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THe Children's Trust really makes a difference.

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What's so valuable about this place is the concentration

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of passionate, caring experts in childhood brain injury,

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all under one roof. The greatest research concentration

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anywhere in the country, and that is a tremendous reassurance

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for families when they're in shock,

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and trying to come to terms with a huge change in their lives.

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Vic Beauvoir has taken care of his grandson, Tom, for most of his life.

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Three years ago, he received some devastating news.

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My daughter phoned up.

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In the background, I could hear a high powered engine

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and sirens and things and she said, "Dad, you've got to come quick.

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"Tom's had a serious accident and they don't expect him to survive."

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Tom had a major brain injury and spent several hours in surgery.

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Afterwards, the surgeon told them to prepare for the worst.

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Just thought, "Oh, my God, please don't die, Tom.

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"This is not real, this is not going to happen,

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"please don't let it happen."

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Things were looking desperate for Tom, who lay in a coma,

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until a few weeks later, when they noticed some movement.

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Oh, I couldn't believe it.

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I thought, "God, he's going to survive",

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but then you don't know whether he's blind

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or if he's ever going to speak again,

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or be able to swallow or he's going to be completely, you know,

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just completely as he is on the bed.

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You know, Tom, but not Tom.

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Tom couldn't speak, so they handed him his mobile phone

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and he began to type.

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I could see in the darkness the Blackberry and it went,

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"Grandad, you're snoring", you know, I thought, God, you know,

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so I thought, "All right, Tom," you know, sort of thing.

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I just wanted to be able to try and get better,

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and stop being in the bed all the time just laying there doing nothing.

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Literally nothing.

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Tom came to the National Rehab Centre weighing only five stone.

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But it wasn't long before he began to reap

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the benefits of what the dedicated staff here had to offer.

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Once I started to see improvement, I was getting confident

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and thinking, why can't anything else get better?

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I remember the first time I started walking again, with my physio,

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I thought she was helping me and then I looked down

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and she was not helping me at all and I just couldn't believe it,

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I was just too happy,

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it felt like I was walking through the air or something.

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After lots of hard work and sheer determination,

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Tom walked out of The Children's Trust on his own two feet,

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a transformed boy.

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Some of the staff were actually in tears. I was close to it,

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and it was just one of the best days, really.

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They've definitely given me back my life.

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I didn't think I'd be able to do anything like this.

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Everything I thought I wouldn't be able to do, I'm doing

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because of The Children's Trust, so they were a big help.

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I think life would have been completely different

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without the Children's Trust. Thank you is never going to be enough.

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It is hard to describe just how huge a difference this place has made

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to children like Tom and Charlie, and hundreds of others.

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But there are many more children with serious brain injuries

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that the Trust would like to be able to help.

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And this is where you come in!

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Because I'm asking you to donate now

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to this life-changing cause and help provide more brain injury experts

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to work with children and their families across the UK.

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Please go to the website...

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..where you can donate.

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If you haven't got internet access, please call.

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And if you can't get through the first time,

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please keep trying.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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You can also donate £10 by texting...

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to the Children's Trust.

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Full terms and conditions can be found

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at www.bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation, please make your cheque

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payable to the Children's Trust

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and send it to Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing "Children's Trust" on the back of the envelope.

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And if you want the charity to claim Gift Aid on your donation,

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please include an e-mail or postal address

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so that they can send you a Gift Aid form.

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Thank you.

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Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond presents an appeal on behalf of The Children's Trust, the UK's leading charity for children with brain injuries. This is a condition Richard knows well; when he was pulled from the wreckage of his high-speed car crash, he spent months recovering from a serious head injury.

The film features Anne-Marie and her four-year-old son Charlie, whose brain was starved of oxygen when he nearly drowned on a family holiday. Charlie was left with severe disabilities, but Anne-Marie believes he has made the best recovery possible as a result of the rehabilitation, education and therapy provided during his stay at the Children's Trust's specialist residential centre. This has helped the whole family to rebuild their lives.