Coronavirus: singing to help vulnerable children
11-year-old Lydia sings to bring hope to children around the world
One Buckinghamshire girl has turned disappointment into opportunity – and is bringing hope to other children around the world.
Eleven-year-old Lydia is a member of Aylesbury’s British Theatre Academy group and had been rehearsing hard for a local performance of West End hit Oliver!, when the coronavirus lockdown started and the performance was cancelled.
“I was quite upset,” Lydia explains. “I love going on stage with my friends and dancing. When I was little, I used to do all the school plays. I used to go to ballet, contemporary, jazz and tap. Ballet was my favourite… the tutus! And now I have my theatre group.”
Life in lockdown with autism
For someone who loves to perform and to be around others, lockdown is proving difficult at times. Children all across the UK say they’re feeling worried, sad and lonely during this period. But, Lydia lives with High-Functioning Autism, which means she craves structure, and can find it more difficult to cope with change and with her own emotions.
Lydia really loves her normal daily structure and spending time with friends: “I love school! I like going to school and I miss my friends. I miss my dance friends and dancing too.” Her mum, Lisa explains that Lydia’s had a few meltdowns during the lockdown period. Something many parents can relate to – but with autism, it's so much harder.
"For the little children"
So, when a friend from their church, Berrysfield Church, suggested an opportunity to perform the songs she’d been practising, for members of the congregation via Zoom, Lydia jumped at the chance. And remarkably she chose to use it to help other children, by raising money for World Vision’s Global coronavirus appeal.
But why World Vision? Lydia’s grateful for all that the NHS and other key workers are doing in the UK, but she’s also aware of the struggles that people in more fragile places overseas are facing due to the pandemic.
“People in other countries are losing people who they love. We have the NHS here which has been amazing, but they [children living in poverty] don’t have the medicine they need. I feel bad for the little children who could lose everything from it. It’s upsetting. So I picked something that would make me happy and other people.”
“I was overwhelmed”
And the performance itself? Lydia treated her church family to songs from Oliver! plus a special bonus tune from The Lion King. “My knees were shaking but I just thought ‘I know all these people, so there’s no point being scared’.”
Her mum, Lisa, sums up the emotion of the moment: “I’m very, very proud of her. I was overwhelmed.”
Lydia hoped her audience would donate £75 for World Vision’s work against COVID-19, but smashed that, raising £275 so far.
She’s very thankful to everyone who has donated and she also has a message for key workers around the world: “Keep on working. You’re doing a good job."