National treasures Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Julie Walters lend their dulcet tones to stories written by patients at world leading children's hospital

2 Jan 2020, 10:40 a.m.

Fantasy stories written by patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital have been brought to life in a series of animations by a team of professional animators, composers, song writers and celebrities.

Working closely with The Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street, former volunteer Alexander Bodin Saphir worked closely with patients aged five and 12 as part of a programme of weekly workshops to demystify the story telling process and provide children who have spent a lot of time in hospital with a creative outlet. In his role, Alexander also visited some of the hospital wards to provide one-to-one sessions with patients who are taught by the bedside.

A film maker and playwright by trade, over the course of a year Alexander drafted in a team of animators, composers and songwriters to turn four of the stories imagined by the children into film. Actors Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Julie Walters gave their time to the project by lending their iconic voices to the narration. Each film is approximately four minutes long and available on Great Ormond Street Hospital’s YouTube channel:

The Meteor and the Moon

The King and the Master Builder

A Picnic in the Park

Skinny and Fluffy

Volunteer Alexander Bodin Saphir, said: “Working alongside the School and bringing my expertise in storytelling has been a complete privilege. Many of the patients that walk through the doors of GOSH have some of the most complex or rare conditions. Life can feel very serious so to be able to allow them a sense of fun, magic and escapism is really important. Being in-and-out of hospital can really affect a child’s confidence, so we really wanted to build that back through storytelling. Hopefully seeing their stories brought to life through animation and narrated by such iconic voices that we all know from the big screen, will do just that. I’d like to thank everyone who gave their time to pull this project together.”

Salma, mum of 10-year-old cystic fibrosis patient Ismaeel says: “Ismaeel was thrilled to be a part of the workshops. He’s feels incredibly proud to see his creativity brought to life in animation, and particularly by such household names. Ismaeel has been a patient at GOSH since birth. Being in and out of hospital can be really hard on him so being part of a project like this, gave him a real sense of achievement.”

The Children's Hospital School at Great Ormond Street Hospital & UCH is in place to ensure children don’t miss out on their education whilst facing long admissions in hospital. The school teaches inpatients of statutory school age with teaching carried out in a variety of locations including at the bedside and in the main schoolroom area.

Jayne Franklin, Head Teacher of the Children’s Hospital School at GOSH said: “We plan alongside schools from all over the country to ensure our pupils can continue to achieve and enjoy their learning at what can be such a challenging time in their lives. In addition to this our own bespoke school curriculum inspires pupils of all ages with a variety of exciting projects every term - just like this one. It’s been fantastic see the difference this project has made to many of our pupils and to see their stories brought to life in such a creative way.”