Eastenders Star Visits Leicestershire Children’s Hospice

Aiden Kavanagh, who receives care at Rainbows, was quick to make friends with Rakhee, who he recognised from the show.

EastEnders actress, Rakhee Thakrar, from Leicester, visited Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People to meet the inspirational families and staff. The 31 year old, who plays Shabnam Masood in the hit BBC One show, joined in with arts activities with the children, took part in a special TV quiz with the young people and even met the Rainbows Choir. Rakhee also stopped sign autographs and take photos with families and staff.Speaking during her visit, Rakhee, whose character in the show is currently at the centre of a major pregnancy storyline, said: “What a special day. Meeting the children and young people was amazing. I never expected a hospice to be so happy, it really is a place where families can make memories.”Based in Loughborough, Rainbows provides vital care and support for children with terminal and life-limiting conditions, as well as their families.Talking about the care team, Rakhee said: “The staff at Rainbows are incredible. It’s amazing how much actually goes on at the hospice and how far the staff go to make things happen. Really and truly inspiring.”Rakhee took part in arts activities with all the children, including Mia Blakey-Tew, who receives care at Rainbows.Julie Macauley, family liaison worker at Rainbows, said: “Rakhee was fantastic, she really took the time to talk to the children, young people and staff. They were absolutely delighted to meet her.”
She continued, “I think for anyone who visits the hospice, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. But Rakhee took it all in her stride and promised everyone she would pop back to see them next time she has break from filming.”

Rainbows Hospice covers the whole of the East Midlands providing care and support for the region’s children and young people who need it the most. 

It was founded by Gail and Harry Moore, whose daughter, Laura, died of Leukaemia in 1989. Laura's favourite thing in the world was a rainbow.

Rainbows opened its doors in 1994 and this year is celebrating its 20th birthday. Since its official opening in April 1995 by HRH Prince of Wales, thousands children, young people, their families, siblings, relatives and friends from across the East Midlands have used the hospice.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to be told their child will die before them. But for an estimated 20,000 families across the UK, this is a reality. Some of these children will die when they’re very young, others will deteriorate slowly over a number of years. In most cases, full-time care falls to the parents – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People helps children and families in these situations with the emotional and physical challenges they face, helping them to make the most of life. 

Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People supports families from Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland and north Northamptonshire.