A brave seven-year-old boy has brought smiles to the faces of patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Burns Centre after taking on a sponsored read and raising over £400 to buy and donate toys and games.  

Henry Capps, from Rothwell near Kettering, read 31 story books in 31 days to raise the funds for toys to cheer up patients at the hospital’s Burns Centre, where he was treated himself in 2022 after an accident on Halloween night.  

Henry and his little brother, Bailey, had been out trick-or-treating and when they got home to count their sweets their mum, Tansley, set about making their favourite Halloween tea, hot dogs. Unable to open one of his sweets, Henry ran into the kitchen, crashing into his mum just as she was turning to drain the pan, causing the boiling water to spill onto his back. 

Tansley thought fast, stripping Henry’s clothes and wrapping the burn in clingfilm before rushing him to their local hospital. Henry was crying out in pain until thankfully, the painkillers started to kick in, and Henry asked if he could eat the sweets he realised he was still holding in his hand. 

Soon an ambulance arrived and Henry and Tansley made the 40-minute journey to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where Henry could receive specialist treatment for his burn. The team assessed Henry’s back but before an unpleasant procedure to remove a layer of damaged skin, they introduced Henry to Wayne, one of the Burns Centre’s play specialists. Wayne chatted to Henry, made him laugh and brought him a game to play and keep. 

Thankfully, Henry only needed to stay in hospital for one night and after many return trips to have his dressings changed, his back began to heal. However, as time passed and Halloween came around again, Henry got upset, confiding in Tansley that he was scared something bad would happen again. Tansley reassured Henry by helping him focus on good memories and that’s when Henry remembered how the toys Wayne gave him helped to make him happy when he was scared and in pain. 

Henry wanted to help other children going through similar experiences and with the help of his mum, Henry decided upon his fundraising challenge and asked family and friends to sponsor him to read a book every single day for a month. Henry read classics including The Tiger Who Came to Tea, The Snail and The Whale and some Dr Seuss favourites and even kept up whilst on a family holiday. 

Tansley said: “I was absolutely heartbroken to see Henry in so much pain and distress but being given toys to play with and keep when we got to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, made such a difference and that’s why Henry wanted to buy toys to do the same for other children". 

“With special permission Henry was able to deliver the toys and games to the Burns Centre and even gave one toy to a little girl who was waiting for an appointment. Henry was beaming when he saw how happy the gift had made her so as well as helping him draw a line under his own experience, he’s over the moon to know he’s helped other children in the same position.” 

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “Play is very important business in our hospital as we know that children who are happy and relaxed cope better with their treatment and recover a lot quicker than those who are more anxious. That’s why we’re so grateful to Henry for his wonderful donation, which will help our brilliant Burns Centre Play Specialists continue supporting patients just like him.”