TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE HEART CHRISTMAS LIGHTS WITH A DIFFERENCE IN SEVEN DIALS

ABOVE: Heart patient, Billy Hopkin, aged 2 years old, with his mother Rebecca. 

London’s unique village, Seven Dials which is located in the heart of the West End will celebrate Christmas Lights with a difference this December.

Working with children’s heart charity Tiny Tickers, Seven Dials will launch ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Heart’ lights from 4pm on Thursday 20 December, controlled by the heartbeat of Billy, a 2 year-old heart patient who is unable to visit the ‘Merry Christmas from Seven Dials’ lights this season.

The result will be magical and moving and are set to be seen by thousands of shoppers visiting Seven Dials hunting for Christmas presents and festive dining experiences.

Currently, the lights in Seven Dials are static, however with the help from Billy and his heartbeat, the Christmas lights surrounding the Dial monument in the heart of the village, will pulse in time to Billy’s heartbeat from 4pm – midnight, to help shine a light on the plight of babies and children who miss Christmas due to serious heart conditions.

This year, the Seven Dials Christmas installation sees bespoke lights and decorations adorning the seven streets which feature over 200 recycled milk bottles to fashion the ‘Merry Christmas from Seven Dials’ signage and 300 white snowflakes that create a traditional winter wonderland to be enjoyed until January 2018.

Tiny Tickers, a small charity dedicated to helping improve the detection, care and treatment of babies with serious heart conditions, is highlighting that whilst everyone else is admiring the Christmas lights, many babies and young children face a very different Christmas; in hospital waiting for, or recovering from, open heart surgery.

Young Billy was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) at his mum’s 20 week scan. TGA is a condition where the two main blood vessels leaving the heart are swapped over and affects 1 in 10,000 babies. After a traumatic 13-hour operation at just 7 days old, Billy has come on in leaps and bounds and is starting to find his feet at 2 years old.

Katie Lawson, from Tiny Tickers says: “At Christmas, many children suffering heart conditions like Billy miss out on the lights and magic due to operations or recovery. We work to keep the lights on for these little stars, so any donations would be an amazing Christmas present”.

Karen Baines, Head of Group Marketing & Communications, Shaftesbury says: “It’s a shame any child should miss the magic of Christmas. Seven Dials is about as festive as Christmas shopping gets, and with thousands of visitors set to admire our Christmas lights in the run up to Christmas day, we were delighted to use their power to shine a light on such a powerful cause”

Those wishing to donate to Tiny Tickers should visit www.tinytickers.org or text TINY22 £5 to 70070 to donate to Tiny Tickers and help give tiny hearts a better start in life.

Below is a link to a film surrounding the activity: https://vimeo.com/burningreel/review/307135420/6136c6cee9

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