Social media success for hospice flash mob

Categories: Community Engagement.

The Treehouse Choir, made up of mums, carers and children supported by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) spontaneously broke into a song and dance routine in the aisles of the Sainsbury’s Warren Heath store in Suffolk.

Members of the choir performed a fusion of songs including ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police and ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by The Black Eyed Peas.

The flash mob took place on Saturday 14 September, but footage of the event has continued to spread across social media platforms.

At the time of writing, a film of the flash mob had been viewed 16,816 times on YouTube. And it has even been re-tweeted by East Anglian-born musician, Ed Sheeran, who has no less than 7,868,206 followers:

The innovative awareness-raising event took place to highlight the charity’s work, particularly the support on offer for family members.

Choreography for the flash mob was provided by Lucy Blazheva and Lynnette King of DanceEast as part of The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts Start Hospices programme, while staff at the Sainsbury’s store helped manage the event with some staff on shift also joining in.

EACH music therapist, Ray Travasso, led the choir. He said: “Making music is a wonderful way to bring people together and a fantastic environment to encourage new friendships and experiences for the families we support and for our staff. It also seems a perfect way to help raise awareness for the work of children’s hospices, specifically EACH. 

“We’ve all had great fun preparing for and taking part in the flash mob, and we’re delighted with how successful it was. The shoppers were surprised and shocked, but seemed to enjoy what was going on. I’m incredibly proud of all the choir members and would like to thank everyone involved in making the project such a success.” 

Paula Davis from Bury St Edmunds is a member of the choir. She performed in the flash mob and receives care and support from The Treehouse for her son William. Paula said: “The community feel it’s created with Treehouse families is priceless!”

Hospices using flash mobs

The flash mob phenomenon is a growing trend and one that has been seen in other hospice’s around the country.

Supporters of Pilgrim’s Hospice spontaneously sang in their nightwear earlier this year to promote their pyjama walk and 30 women dressed in pink surprised Durham city centre in March, with an 80s dance routine in aid of St Cuthburt’s Hospice. 

Keech Hospice, however, attracted the attention of hundreds, as they performed a flash mob dressed as superheros in Luton. 

Jeremy Newton, chief executive for The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts, believes there is a growing need for events that provide enjoyment and respite for the whole family:

“The time devoted to symptom control, care and support for a serious illness very often means that children, siblings and parents miss out on the enjoyment of shared, everyday family activities and experiences that most of us take for granted.

“Our Start Hospices programme provides families coping with this most difficult time a rare respite from the illness, allowing them to spend valuable time together in a new relaxed but adapted and supported setting enjoying arts activities and experiences that will stay with them forever.” 

To find out more about the EACH Treehouse Choir, visit the EACH website. Or come along to the Ideas Exchange at the Help the Hospices conference in October, where details of the work of the choir will be presented.

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