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Drawing sensation Jack Henderson stars on Sick Kids radio

The six-year-old fundraising artist visits Radio Lollipop

No sooner had illustrative whiz-kid Jack Henderson settled on a future career as a fireman than he was making plans to become the next Chris Moyles.

The six-year-old from Prestonpans paid a visit to Radio Lollipop at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where he told listeners about his efforts to raise money for them.

When asked if he had enjoyed his DJ set he said: “I want to do it forever.”

Jack, who has drawn more than 350 pictures to boost funds for the Sick Kids Friends' Foundation, has raised more than £23,000 to date.

The young artist chose to set up his Jack Draws Anything website to support the hospital where his younger brother Noah, two, receives ongoing treatment for a lung problem.

And now he’s working his way through more than 500 requests for illustrations from people in 115 countries, asking for drawings of anything from Mr Potato Head to a gorilla.

Rose Henderson, Jack’s mum, said that, despite this mammoth task, Jack hasn't quite realised how famous he is.

She said: “He’s not really got any grasp of how big it is, he doesn’t really understand all the stuff that’s going on.

“He got a picture request from David Tennant the other day and he still didn’t quite grasp the hugeness of that, he just thought “why wouldn’t Doctor Who want one of my pictures?”, whereas his dad and I thought “excellent”.”

But the youngster still got the star treatment when he dropped by the Radio Lollipop studio, where he gave an exclusive on-air interview to resident DJ Dougie Robertson.

Jack told Dougie about his favourite drawing of a bee and how he liked “hundreds of colours”, as well as explaining why he calls his younger brother Toby, three, 'Hedgy' (they both love hedgehogs), before taking to the decks himself, where he revealed a penchant for music by the band Queen.

His interview, played to children throughout the hospital who each have speakers above their beds, is part of a varied programme of entertainment featured on the show, which belongs to an international network of children's hospital radio stations.

Established 25 years ago, Radio Lollipop aims to provide comfort, care and play for children receiving treatment, and is run by volunteers who, as well as presenting, provide face-to-face entertainment to young patients.

DJ Dougie Robertson, who runs his own entertainment business, is also the treasurer for Edinburgh's Radio Lollipop.

He said: "There are statistics out there that prove that children get better with entertainment. This is a service we’ve been providing in Edinburgh for 22 years.

"It’s lovely to put a smile on children’s faces, especially when you’ve a had a hard day at work, you can come in here and have a great time.”

In October, Radio Lollipop Edinburgh will host a fundraising masked ball in the Roxburghe Hotel, where masks created by children in the hospital will be on sale, as well as a special design by Jack.

While at the hospital, Jack and his parents also got the chance to catch up with Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the Sick Kids Friends' Foundation, a separate organisation from Radio Lollipop.

The charity provides comfort and support for children and their families, as well as funding training and medical equipment above NHS provision.

Ms Harrison explained how important Jack's contribution has been.

She said: “It’s really been incredible for us because he’s raised even more than he realises - once you add Gift Aid on it’s over £25,000, which is really a tremendous amount, when you think it’s from a six-year-old boy.

“One of the things that’s really important when children are in hospital is that they get time to do drawing and art activities as a distraction from what’s happening to them, but also that they see it displayed.

“So one of the first things that we’re going to do with some of the funds that Jack has raised for us is to provide special places where children’s work can be displayed so they can enjoy seeing it and show their parents.

“Radio Lollipop also really make the time in the hospital so much better for all the children who are here. It’s lovely to hear Jack doing an interview because I know how much the children will enjoy hearing him.”

Jack, who earlier this week visited the Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service's headquarters, has signed a deal to publish all of his drawings in a book which will be out in October.

Radio Lollipop's Masked Ball will take place on Friday, October 7 at the Roxburghe Hotel. Tickets cost £55 and will include a champagne reception, three course meal, disco and live entertainment. For more information visit Radio Lollipop's website.

IN DETAIL

Jack Draws Anything nominated for international award

Jack Draws Anything

Sick Kids Friends' Foundation

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