It was in 2002 when Archie Chilcott – a one year old baby – was admitted into the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, having a severe brain virus.

His mum, Victoria spent hour upon hour reading stories to her little boy in the hope that he might be able to hear them. It was during this time that Victoria began thinking about putting together a book of bedtime stories and poems which celebrities had selected as their favourites.

It’s now two years later and Archie has made a full recovery. Victoria wanted to do something to thank the staff in PICU that had cared so much for her son during his time in hospital.

As Victoria explains:

“Archie owes his life to the staff on PICU, as do many other children” so she created that story book and called it ‘Stars at Bedtime.’ It was agreed with the publishers ‘Dorling Kindersley’ to give the royalties from the sale of the book to the St George’s ‘Hold my hand appeal’, which raises money for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

Stars at Bedtime is a wonderful collection of children’s classics such as Aladdin and Hansel and Gretel as well as today’s favourites including ‘Hairy McClary’ and ‘Can’t you sleep little bear?’ The book includes all original artwork. The celebrities chose stories that meant the most to them, either ones that they most liked listening to as a child or the story that they enjoy reading to their own children.

The book was launched on 8th November with a pyjama party held by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown and his wife at 11 Downing Street. Staff from PICU attended the reception and met the stars who had very kindly agreed to contribute to the book, and who brought their children along to enjoy the fun. These included Fern Britton, Eamon Holmes, Terry Waite and Comedienne Jenny-clair.

Speaking at the party Archie’s parents said:

“We remember first walking into PICU and we immediately felt very safe. From the moment Archie arrived the level of care, commitment and dedication the nurses and doctors gave to him was like the love a parent would give to their child.”

Eamon Holmes, TV presenter was at the party and said:

“I have met the staff from the hospital, there really are some real hero’s here today.”

Finally Victoria added “I hope that you will enjoy these beautifully illustrated bedtime stories, knowing that you will have helped so many children and their families at St George’s Hospital.”

All the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a special ultrasound scanner, which can be used to look at images of children’s heart, brain, kidneys, bladder and other organs.

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please contact Laura Smith, Communications Manager at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on 020 8725 4522 or
  2. PICU is a five to eight bed Paediatric intensive care unit able to provide care for children requiring paedaitric intensive care and also high dependency care for both the local children and children requiring specialist care across the south of England.