Star Wars actor John Boyega brought smiles to seriously ill children when he visited Demelza, his local children’s hospice.
The Bafta-winning star from Peckham, who plays Finn in the popular film franchise, spent time with families cared for Demelza Hospice Care for Children on Monday 13 June.
John, 24, who appeared alongside Harrison Ford in The Force Awakens, visited our Eltham hospice Demelza SEL
, where children up to the age of 19 come for respite, symptom management and end of life care.
Mr Boyega “couldn’t wait” to make dreams come true for children like seven-year-old Lamin, also from Peckham, who has endured over 20 operations in his short life and has a tracheostomy to help him breath.
After being treated to a special Star Wars party in his honour, John said: “I’d heard about the great work of Demelza so couldn’t wait to visit and help make some dreams come true. I was blown away by the children and the nurses who do such a fantastic job of caring for them.
“South East London is extremely fortunate to have such an amazing charity on its doorstep, ensuring families get the support they need. I just hope people will continue to do what they can to support this great cause.”
Many of the children dressed as Star Wars characters for the occasion including four-year-old ‘stormtrooper’ Eshan, who has a rare form of rickets, and his sister Mysha, six, who came as Rey.
Their mum Shara from Hither Green said: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Eshan so excited -it’s made his day. It’s been a very tough year so to see him so happy is absolutely wonderful.
"The support we’ve had from Demelza has been life-changing and days like today make our time here even more special.”
A smile also beamed from eight-year-old Nicholas from Sidcup who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe muscle-wasting condition.
His mum Abigail Smith said: “This was our first visit to Demelza so I didn’t know what to expect but it’s been wonderful. Finn is Nicholas’ favourite character in the new Star Wars film and you could see how just happy he was to meet him.”
As a charity, not part of the NHS, Demelza is reliant on community generosity to be able to continue providing care to hundreds of families across South East London, Kent and East Sussex who desperately need support.
Care Coordinator Fiona Ashmore said: “We’re so grateful to John for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Demelza. He interacted beautifully with the children and families, playing games, cracking jokes and most importantly raising so many smiles.
“The work we do can be very sad at times but most of the time this is what it’s all about – making precious, happy and memorable moments, for the families we care for.”