A 79-year-old man from Rowley Regis has played his way to the top fundraising spot after raising over £1,280 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity at The Midland Accordion Festival.

Semi-professional accordionist, Barry Smith, has organised the annual weekend-long festival since 2013 and each year, as well as the chance to come together for three days of music, he has included a fundraising element for his accordion-loving attendees. This year, through donations and a raffle, festival goers reached into their pockets for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, a cause close to Barry’s heart.

Barry’s seven-year-old grandson, Benedict, owes his life to doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, after he was rushed into their care via blue lights just a few hours after he was born. Benedict had been born with a congenital heart condition which meant that one of the valves in his heart wasn’t working as it should and he needed immediate surgery to fix it.

Thankfully, the surgery was a success and even though Benedict will need continuous monitoring for the foreseeable future, and a valve replacement as he grows, grandad Barry is forever grateful that Benedict is otherwise fit and healthy.

Barry said: “The Midland Accordion Festival has supported Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity on a few occasions now, but this year was our best total yet. The hospital means a great deal to me and my family as without it, Benedict would not be here today, so I’m very grateful to our members for their support.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Barry and his brilliant accordionists have proven that fundraising can take any shape and in doing so they’ve raised an incredible amount for us, which will go towards supporting the 90,000 sick kids we treat at out hospital every year, just like Benedict.”