29 Jan 2008

Singer and model Sophie Ellis-Bextor is the face of Britain’s biggest campaign to collect the country's favourite childhood memories. Photographed by top photographer Rankin for The Children's Society, Sophie posed in a tonne of multi coloured sprinkles to highlight the campaign - www.hundredsandthousands.org.uk.

Devised by The Children’s Society, Hundreds and Thousands of Childhood Memories is part of a movement to engage the nation and enlist their help in making childhoods better. Collecting cherished early memories from the British public will help to build a picture of what a good childhood should look like and contribute towards The Good Childhood® Inquiry – the UK’s first independent inquiry into what makes a good childhood.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor says of her childhood memory: "August 10th 1987 was the day my little brother was born and I was so excited to be a big sister. Jack's father is my step-dad and on the day Jack was born I was with my dad who was really happy for me and made me a special coin to mark the occasion. I remember being proud not just that I finally wasn't an only child any more but also that my parents had moved on to better things since their divorce. Now I have a huge family with lots of brothers and sisters so I guess that date was the start of the happy ending.”

Sophie adds: “I'm delighted to support The Children's Society's campaign to make childhood better for all children in the UK today. As a mum, I want my children to have some fantastic memories. Being covered in hundreds and thousands is much more fun than I imagined but the serious message is we really need hundreds and thousands of childhood memories - please share yours."

Hundreds and Thousands of Childhood Memories is linked closely to The Children’s Society’s Good Childhood® Inquiry and already has the backing of Manchester United and The Co-operative.

Martin Field, director of campaigns at The Children’s Society adds: “Recent research held up the UK as the worst country in the developed world to grow up in*. Hundreds and Thousands of Childhood Memories is a chance for everyone in the UK to contribute towards making childhood better. Memories help to shape us and we want to take the nation’s good childhood memories and make a positive change for children. We all have a memory to share and so we can all get involved to make a real difference for children today.”

Anyone unable to log onto www.hundredsandthousands.org.uk can visit one of ten exhibitions across the country.

Celebrity Memories:

Rankin (celebrity photographer)
"I remember playing Curby, a ball game, with all the kids on my street. Cars would slow down for us and it wasn't dangerous at all. I really loved the freedom we had."

Cliff Richard (singer)

It was Christmas and I was in India. Dad's office was throwing a party for the employees' kids and at one end of the room was a huge Christmas tree surrounded by loads of presents. One of them caught my eye - it was a bicycle, all wrapped up but you can't disguise a bicycle! And there, on a big label hanging from the handlebars, was my name - HARRY! (This was many years before I changed my name to Cliff!). I couldn't hide my excitement and told my Dad. My dad's reply was devastating. “How do you know it's yours”, he said. “You're not the only boy here whose name is Harry. Later on all of us were seated around the tree as Father Christmas gave out the gifts. It seemed forever before he got to the bicycle. “This is for Harry,” he said. Long pause.....”Harry Webb!” My heart leapt. It was my best Christmas ever!”

Tracy-Ann Oberman (actress)
“I remember standing on a stage in a hotel at the age of two dressed up as a cowboy, insisting that I wanted to play the piano and plonking on it for ages, having a whale of a time. I don't think they could get me off it!”

Chris Tarrant (television presenter)
“One of my earliest childhood memories is of course my first ever day’s fishing.  My Granddad took me.  I was just four years old, I caught a fish, dropped his rod and fell in the river.  All in all, it was pretty typical of most of the fishing days I‘ve spent since!”

Notes to editors:

Launch photographs of Sophie Ellis-Bextor in Hundreds and Thousands are available on request
Press Office: IncrediBull Ideas
For more information, pictures or an interview with Richard Johnson, please contact Lishai Oz or Ailsa Macfarlane at IncrediBull ideas on 0207 940 3800 or email
lishai.oz@incredibullideas.com or ailsa.macfarlane@incredibullideas.com

Press Office: The Children’s Society
For more information on the work of The Children’s Society, please contact Samantha Shaw on 0207 841 4423 or email sxs@childsoc.org.uk

* No persons under 18 can enter their memories for the Hundreds and Thousands of Childhood Memories initiative
* *Child poverty in perspective: an overview of child well being in rich countries. UNICEF, 2007
* ®The Good Childhood is a registered trademark of The Children’s Society
* Charity registration No. 221124
* Regional exhibitions:

1. Lakeside shopping centre, Essex 4 – 10 Feb
2. The Harlequin Centre, Watford 18 – 24 Feb
3. The Victoria Centre, Nottingham 3 – 9 March
4. Meadowhall, Sheffield 17 – 23 March
5. Metro Centre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 7 – 13 April
6. The Trafford Centre, Manchester 21 - 27 April
7. The Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent 5 – 11 May
8. The Bullring, Birmingham 19 – 25 May
9. West Quay, Southampton 2 – 8 June
10 Bluewater, Kent 16 – 22 June