Woking kids star in Children in Need show

TWO Woking youngsters made a live TV appearance on Friday to drum up donations for Children in Need.

Zoe Ratcliff, who is 13 and from St Johns, and Jake Norris, seven, from Pyrford, were invited to join a drumming group, made up of children who are on the autistic spectrum, to take part in a unique performance. The aim was to raise awareness of their conditions while bringing in hundreds of pounds for the charity.

BEST PALS - Jake Norris with Pudsey

BEST PALS – Jake Norris with Pudsey

The idea was dreamed up by BBC’s Children in Need for the South producer, Pete Doherty, who organised the DrumA project for ages seven to 17. After six months, the 17 drummers were beating in time and came together for a fantastic show.

Led by Major Lawrence Sale of the Winchester Rifles, DrumA went out live on BBC South Today, filmed at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu between 6.30pm and 7pm.

They performed Some Nights accompanied by a lead singer with Asperger’s syndrome, and were also interviewed by Miss Moneypenny herself, Samantha Bond. Zoe (above), who has Asperger’s, is a pupil at The Winston Churchill in St Johns, while Jake (below) is at Freemantles School in Woking.

It was a big deal for the autistic children who have difficulty in relating to others and find making sense of the world around them very challenging.

Zoe’s mum Lynne said: “DrumA began rehearsing in April and the children have been on a fantastic journey. I noticed how much they enjoyed the sessions and how close they have come together. As I am sure you know, this is something autistic children often find difficult.

“They have been taking instructions from the conductor and learning to work as a team. It has been a wonderful achievement.”

Jake’s mum Sarah added: “On the night all these youngsters coped extremely well in an unfamiliar environment.”

Let’s hope the beat goes on…

Watch the kids’ TV performance by searching ‘DrumA Children in Need’ on YouTube.

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