Whitby girl, 7, raises thousands in charity dance-a-thon

From left: Hayley Miller, Valerie Laws, Bea Grenfell, Andy Stockdale, Vicky Grenfell, Rosemary Wood and Chris Colebrooke.
From left: Hayley Miller, Valerie Laws, Bea Grenfell, Andy Stockdale, Vicky Grenfell, Rosemary Wood and Chris Colebrooke.

A seven-year-old girl from Whitby is celebrating raising thousands of pounds for the charity that saved her life.

Beatrice Grenfell, known as Bea, has a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis type one.

She and her family only found out last January, when the Egton C of E Primary School pupil suddenly fell ill.

Bea’s mum Vicky Grenfell said: “She was sick and then she became unresponsive and went into a prolonged seizure. She was barely breathing and turning blue. It was very scary.

“Thankfully the paramedic on the dispatch desk of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance listened in on the 999 call and dispatched an air ambulance.

“Bea was initally worked on by local paramedics, Mike Pickett and John Kaiser, then when the air ambulance came she was airlifted to James Cook Hospital by pilot Andy Hall, with paramedics Pete Rhodes and Anthony Platt continuing to work on her the whole way there.”

After being taken into paediatric intensive care, the seven-year-old was put into an induced coma. She was found to have Influenza B and a virus called RSV which causes breathing difficulties.

Weeks later, following a series of tests, she received her diagnosis.

“Any of these things could have contributed to what happened,” added Vicky. “But without the speedy response and the skills of the amazing Yorkshire Air Ambulance paramedics, Bea wouldn’t be here today.

“We’ll be eternally grateful to them for all they did to save her.”

After Bea returned to school, she and her classmates decided to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as part of their annual summer play as a way to thank the team for their efforts.

In October, charity representatives Kevin Hutchinson and Andy Hall were presented with a cheque of £500 but Bea and her family wanted to do more.

“Bea has a real love of dancing so we thought what better way to raise money than with a 12-hour dance-a-thon.”

This was organised at the start of the month at the Whitby Pavilion. It featured a variety of classes, on from 10am to 10pm, and five raffles.

“We arranged everything through LP Dancing and Colebrooke Media, who have been fantastic. Over 100 people came to support us on the day and we managed to raise an amazing £9,000. It’s been incredible.

“I really want to thank all the businesses and people who donated, danced and helped us on the day. It means a lot to us and Bea’s just over the moon.

“She knows that these people saved her and she’s probably going to fundraise for them all her life. We’re already planning to do this again next year.”