Children and staff of one caring school are set to be featured in a special television appeal this weekend.

Airing at 2.05pm on Sunday, everyone at James Rennie Special School, in Carlisle, will see themselves in the BBC Lifeline Appeal for Jessie’s Fund, alongside host and well-loved actress Maxine Peake.

The charity was set up in memory of Jessica George, a brave nine-year-old girl who was given a heartbreaking brain tumour diagnosis and passed away at children’s hospice Martin House just a few months later.

And now Lesley Schatzberger, Jessie’s Fund director and Jessie’s mum, is proud to see other young children who are seriously ill or disabled benefit from the group’s funding.

“Communication is one of the most basic needs of all humans,” she said.

“The children we work with struggle to communicate, and some have no means to express themselves at all.

“Music is a powerful way in which they can connect with the world around them – and on October 25, there’s a chance to witness moments of this on TV.”

The ten-minute programme will give viewers a unique insight into just how powerful music can be for children with complex needs.

Whether an individual child is in music therapy, or a class in a special school is interacting in a specialist music session, music can open pathways to communication and learning.

And after working with Jessie’s Fund for the past 18 months, the team at James Rennie are thrilled to see just how much the charity has helped their pupils.

“Jessie’s Fund have been amazing,” Kerry Dunbobbin, deputy headteacher at James Rennie, said.

“They have come in and inspired the staff and children right the way through the school.

“When you walk down the corridor now you hear music coming from every classroom, it’s just fabulous what they have done for our pupils and teachers.”

The programme will air on BBC One, and again at 2.30pm on October 27 on BBC Two, with viewers also able to catch up on the Lifeline Appeal on BBC iPlayer.

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