Two sisters from Shrewsbury have been named as charity champions after rallying their schoolmates to do their bit in a festive knit and raising more than £520 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Ten-year-old Elsie Downes, her nine-year-old sister Grace and their class mates at Packwood Haugh School pulled on their Christmas jumpers last Friday, to take part in the charity’s annual Jolly Jumper Day initiative after the girls wrote to the school’s Deputy Head to share just what Birmingham Children’s Hospital means to them.

When Grace was just a few months old, her parents noticed what appeared to be a lazy eye, but after various tests, Grace was diagnosed with a condition called Renal Coloboma Syndrome. It’s a condition which can affect the development of the kidneys and eyesight and in Grace’s case, meant that her kidneys are undersized, she’s blind in her right eye and had reduced vision in her left. On learning that their baby’s condition was genetic, Grace’s parents quickly arranged for Elsie to be tested too. The tests came back positive, showing that Elsie also had the syndrome but with far fewer effects than her little sister.

Having been regular visitors to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for regular check-ups to monitor their conditions for the past eight years, both sisters are only too familiar with the incredible care and treatment provided by staff there. Keen to do something to show their appreciation and spread the word among their friends, the girls set about persuading their school to take part in Jolly Jumper Day, even speaking in an assembly about their condition and why the hospital is such a special place.

Mum Emma, who is also Assistant Bursar at Packwood Haugh School, said: “As a family, we’re so grateful for the fabulous care that Elsie and Grace have and will continue to receive at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and we’re sure we can’t be the only family at school to feel that way! All of the children and staff had a wonderful day in all of their colourful jumpers and we’re so pleased we were able to give back to the charity, especially at Christmas.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Jolly Jumper Day is such a fun and easy way to raise money to help us do more for our sick kids this Christmas, and we’re so grateful to Elsie and Grace for bravely sharing their story and working so hard to get their fellow pupils at Packwood Haugh to get involved.”

If you would like to donate to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity you can do so here.