Past Event: 2017 Christmas Film Festival for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices



Robinson Theatre
Hills Rd, Cambridge

Dear lovely people of Cambridge,

Ellen Downes here, co-founder of Enchanted Cinema and organiser of last December’s mighty magical Christmas Film Festival for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. When I sat down at my laptop to write an article I found it hard. I couldn’t to make the story of such a community-centred charity and event into anything other than a letter.

A letter to you, you who are about to have your heart and soul stirred and warmed! Through A Christmas Film Festival and A Christmas Prize Draw we raised an incredible amount for the incredible local children’s hospices. I am about to unveil a list of Cantabrigians who did the most wonderful things to make it all happen.

Let me first tell you how we pulled off the festival. The sublime Lydia Higginson of Made My Wardobe/Threadworks did not take her role as Queen of Decor lightly. She created a glittering garland with flowers, foliage and fairy lights for every table and chair leg and doorway. Local filmmaker Ryd Cook volunteered as projectionist and gave the most lovely intro to his award-winning film Single to London (which we screened before Love Actually, best festive film ever). And then there was the handsome musical duo, Harri Beasley and Tom Petit. These guys are behind Unpluggedin open mic nights at The Earl of Beaconsfield. They programmed the afternoon of festive acoustic sets. We even had a real life Elsa performing after Frozen who didn’t even hesitate to donate her time. A real life Disney Princess waiting outside the cinema! This girl made dreams come true.

I am delighted to name those on the Hall of Pop-up Cafe Fame. Our cafe at the film festival was stocked by these glorious businesses: Kandula, Teapigs, Drink Me Chai, Nisbets, Dragonfly Tea, Cambridge Fruit Co., Foodcycle, Radmore Farm Shop, Cotto Restaurant, The Garden Kitchen, Kath’s Kitchen & Caffe Mobile.

And the list of those who jumped at the opportunity to help continues. Hold your breath, prepare and take a look at quite how many more businesses donated (prizes for our Christmas Prize Draw): Cambridge Satchel Company, Limoncello, ADC Theatre, Cambridge United, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Shepreth Wildlife Park, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cotto Restaurant, Carluccio’s, Tradizioni, Old Bicycle Shop, Five Guys, The Olive Grove, Pint Shop, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, La Maison du Steak, DoubleTree by Hilton, Stir, Pret A Manger, CB2 Bistro, Norfolk Street Bakery, Costa Coffee, Hot Numbers, Cuckoo Clothing, Bravissimo, Scotsdales Garden Centre, Go Ape!, Dion Gallichan Photography, Scudamore’s Punting, Toni & Guy, Douce UK, Vision Hair, Marc Jason, Stilo Hair & Beauty, Eddie’s Barber Shop, Finn Jordan & Dragonfly Beauty Spa.

Pretty incredible ey? And I was blown away yet further by the hand-written notes of encouragement which arrived with donations and the copious emails wishing us good luck for the event.

A very special thank you must be given to the lovely team at Printerbello who, like so many others, went above and beyond to help make the fundraising the success that it was. They printed and delivered 20 posters, 1,500 flyers and a good few thousand prize draw tickets, all premium quality and absolutely free of charge.

Have you heard of Nic Farrell? She’s really great. She designed all the artwork for our posters and website pretty much overnight and volunteered at the festival too. I would recommend that you improve your life by visiting her online shop.

Lydia Melbourne volunteered with us and through Lloyds Bank Foundations’ The Matched Giving Scheme she claimed £1,000 towards our grand total. Which is, you might be wondering, £5,252.32.

And of course a huge thank you to the local web design studio ThinkSmile for our amazing website and making selling all those tickets possible!

Last May my sister died and the world lost a bright and shining light. She was the most kind, lovely and creative person I’ll ever have known. To have run an Arts event which was fuelled by kindness, and all for a charity which made her so happy and also cared for her so lovingly during her last weeks, is really special.

Just to repeat (I’m very proud), together we raised an incredible £5,252.32 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. The hospices have to raise almost £6 million in voluntary donations every year (that’s the same as £16,000 each day, 365 days a year). They care for and support children with life-threatening illnesses as well as providing end of life care for dying children and their families EACH can only continue to do this if we continue to fundraise. So, here’s to more events. Watch this space!

And in the meantime, you can donate at Every penny really does help.

A final thank you to everyone who volunteered at the event, to all those who bought tickets and of course to you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Thank you to the moon and back,