Actor Rhys Connah, Ryan in the BBC hit TV show Happy Valley, has become an ambassador for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, after a year in which he and the West Yorkshire charity have become firm friends.

Rhys agreed to open Forget Me Not’s fourteenth charity shop in Hebden Bridge a year ago and wanted to visit the hospice to see what support the shop helped to fund. The charity, which supports babies and children with life-shortening conditions and their families across West Yorkshire, welcomed Rhys for a private visit to the hospice at Russell House in Huddersfield in June 2023.

After meeting staff and children and seeing the outstanding facilities at the children’s hospice, Rhys was keen to do more to help and offered to run a forest skills day, drawing on his scouting experience. With Rhys’ help and encouragement, children supported by Forget Me Not as well as their siblings built a den in the hospice garden using fallen branches and twigs from a nearby wood and created bird feeders and bug hotels.

Rhys attended Forget Me Not’s Celebration Ball at Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford in March 2024 with his family, greeting fans with a smile and posing for selfies.

And on March 13th he returned to where it all began, Forget Me Not’s shop in Hebden Bridge, for their volunteer buffet – an annual thank you the charity organises in every shop to thank the vital volunteers for all they do to help run the shops.

Rhys alongside the Forget Me Not Hospice

Rhys Connah said, “It’s great to be back at Hebden Bridge today to mark one year since I was here to open Forget Me Not’s second charity shop in the town. I’ve loved spending time with the staff and volunteers and it’s brilliant to see how well they’re doing.

“I’ve been a big fan of Forget Me Not’s since I visited the children’s hospice and saw some of the amazing work they do there to support children and families. And I loved spending time with a group of children last summer practising our forestry skills in the hospice’s beautiful garden. That’s when I knew I wanted to do more. Because it’s only because of the support of the whole community raising money for Forget Me Not that the charity exists at all. That’s why I’m proud to have become an official ambassador for the children’s hospice and hope to help them do more of what they do!”

Alison Parker, relationship manager at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice said, “When we first met Rhys at the shop opening last year everyone took to him instantly, such a warm and genuine young man. We all said ‘that’s a young man we’d like to do more with’ so we’re delighted to welcome Rhys as our newest ambassador!

“It’s been a real pleasure getting to know him and we love his ideas about how he can help us in our work. The children and the care team enjoy spending time with him, and of course we all love seeing him on our screens. A huge talent, we can’t wait to see what’s next for him in his burgeoning acting career. We’re looking forward to Rhys spending more time with the children at the hospice and working together to promote the vital work we do across West Yorkshire.”

By becoming a Forget Me Not ambassador Rhys joins a select group of highly valued supporters of Forget Me Not, including the charity’s patron HRH Princess Beatrice, and ambassadors Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft, Rugby League player Michael Lawrence, BTCC driver Dan Lloyd, golfer Rochelle Morris and Huddersfield Giants talisman Eorl Crabtree.

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