Little ballerinas from NJDance have put their best ‘good toes’ forwards to fundraise for the children’s hospice that cares for their dancing friend, Ellie.
Ellie with her mum Jenna, carer Laura and dance friends Natasha and Megan

The dance school in Hilperton, near Trowbridge, raised £400 for Julia’s House at their first performance to parents and carers since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The local children’s hospice charity cares for four-year-old Ellie Humphries, from Bromham, who was diagnosed with a large brain tumour at six months old. The youngster’s condition is currently stable, but the disease has left her paralysed on one side of her body and Julia’s House nurses continue to provide Ellie and her family with essential respite care.

Despite being unable to walk or use her right arm, Ellie loves to join in with her dancing buddies and twirl in her wheelchair with her mum Jenna at her dance classes.

NJDance owner and instructor, Natasha Jones, said, “Ellie has been coming along to our dance school since she was around two years old and we’ve been able to adapt her class so she can take part. We really wanted to help raise awareness and support for the local charity that cares for Ellie and her family. Her mum Jenna said that without Julia’s House, they wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic.”

Mum Jenna said, “Ellie shouldn’t really be here – she was given just one per cent chance of survival – so to see her enjoying dance classes like I did when I was a little girl is really special.

“She really enjoys being around the other children at Miss Natasha’s class and they’re so lovely and accepting. They bring her wands, wings and tiaras to wear, which Ellie loves. She has use of her left side, so she can move her arm with the music and practise her good toes and naughty toes.”

Ellie with Miss Natasha

Around 100 local children took part in three COVID-safe dance shows over one day at NJ Dance.

“It was amazing for the children to have that opportunity to perform, after missing out so much over the pandemic,” said Natasha. “We held a raffle at each show, with people generously donating prizes and money for Julia’s House. I was so happy and overwhelmed with the response. After a really horrible time because of COVID, it was rejuvenating to see everyone pulling together.”

Julia’s House children’s hospice cares for families of life-limited and life-threatened children in the local community. Each year, the charity needs to raise £1.5million to fund its hospice and community-based service across Wiltshire.

Claudia Hickin, Fundraiser for Julia’s House, said, “Ellie is an incredible little girl with the best laugh in the world – we can only imagine what fun she gets up to at her dance classes. We’re so grateful to Miss Natasha and all the talented dancers and families at NJ Dance for their support for Julia’s House children’s hospice. Our lifeline of care for families like Ellie’s is only possible thanks to the generosity of local individuals, community groups and businesses – so every donation really does make a difference.”

Find out more about our Together We Care Appeal in Wiltshire >>