A brave Calderdale teenager who was born 11 weeks prematurely and later battled a life-threatening brain haemorrhage, is preparing to take centre stage for a dream duet alongside her mum for a special event to raise vital funds for two regional organisations.
Annabelle Riley spent a heart-breaking three-month stay in a Special Care Baby Unit due to her fragile state, during which she was given only hours to live after her parents received the shocking news of the haemorrhage.
Read: Why Halifax school's Christmas play could be filmed and shown to millions on TV
The courageous 18-year-old continues to bravely battle a number of difficulties and requires the full-time support of her mother, Caroline, her grandparents, her brother Fraser, and many healthcare professionals at their specially-adapted home in Brighouse.
But that certainly doesn’t stop the determined Annabelle – affectionately known as ‘Annie’ – who has embraced her passion for singing by joining The Orange Box choir; part of Square Chapel’s community outreach programme in Halifax.
And now, Annabelle is taking her love for singing all the way into the spotlight as she prepares to perform a heart-warming duet alongside her doting mum at the third annual Kirklees and Calderdale Charity Lunch (KACCL) at Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top on December 6.
The charity Christmas lunch will raise much-needed funds for Square Chapel’s community outreach programme and Huddersfield-based Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
Organisers are hoping the event eclipse last year’s fundraising total of £24,000.
Read: Irish band The Script announce gig at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax
Proud mum, Caroline, said: “Annie is my precious gift, daughter and friend. She was extremely fragile at birth and health professionals worked so hard to keep her alive.
“But we all believed in Annie and she never gave up either. Annie’s story has seen the community come together for us too and that support has been incredible.
“Since joining The Orange Box Choir, we have definitely seen her flourish too. She’s happy and living life to the full. Everyone there has embraced her, we feel like they are all part of our family. The choir has given Annie confidence and has shown that, even with pain and suffering, if you have the right people around you, you can achieve anything and live your life to the full.
“Annie and I are singing together to remind people of what love, dedication, compassion, true support, high aspirations and belief in individuals can actually achieve.”
The Orange Box Choir, based at Orange Box young people’s centre in Halifax, aims to bring together the schools and services across Calderdale; providing a platform for members to grow in confidence by expressing their musical talent in a safe place.
As well as Annabelle’s performance, other members of The Orange Box Choir who come from Youth Works Calderdale, Young Foundations, Next Step Trust, Pennine Magpie, Project Challenge, Ravenscliffe High School, Calderdale College and Orange Box young people’s centre, will be gracing the stage for the KACCL event.
Thanks is due to the KACCL organising committee, which includes figures from businesses across the region including JR Group UK Ltd, Stafflex, Chadwick Lawrence, Faith PR, Eastwood & Partners, Brug Consultancy, Whimsical Events, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, Hellomint, Cedar Court Hotels and headline sponsors, Crowther Chartered Accountants.