A finalist on Britain’s Got Talent is holding a variety show in aid of a charity dreamed up by a friend who died 25 years after having a heart and lung transplant.
Nicola Langlands, from Pevensey Bay, died in December last year.
In 1989 she was the 12th child in the UK to have a lung and heart transplant and was told by doctors it may only give her five extra years to live. But against the odds she lived for 25 years and was the longest surviving heart-lung transplant patient in England. And was able to become a mother, giving birth to her daughter Megan.
Before her death, mum-of-one Nicola had been campaigning to make people aware of being a donor and worked to give talks about her experience.
She dreamed of setting up charity Look Beyond the Heart to help support patients and held events to raise money for it. To raise the £5000 needed to officially register the charity, Britain’s Got Talent 2013 finalist, ventriloquist Steve Hewlett from Eastbourne, put on a show at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park theatre and raised more than £8,000.
Steve said: “Nicola was delighted and was in the audience on the night, she said a few words after the show and appreciated everyone who turned out for us. I had about 12 acts give up their time for me to make this a success. Nicola knew the money would launch her charity and she was so happy, but her health got worse and she passed away two months later. It was then at her service her family announced they would take the charity, register it and dedicate their time in making Nicola’s dream a reality. www.lookbeyondtheheart.com was Nicola’s way of helping others, the key things she wanted were things she didn’t have so she knew it was important to have someone there for you after a transplant, it doesn’t end there. The family need help also, especially the family who have donated.”
Steve said the charity has two main objectives, to assist in the aftercare of transplant patients, donors and their families through the provision of financial, emotional and medical support and advice and to educate the public about transplant patients, donors and their families.
Steve is putting on Alfie’s Starquest on October 25 at Royal Hippodrome theatre where variety acts will perform in a talent show before a panel of celebrity judges. Alfie is a puppet which has become the charity’s mascot. All funds will go to those in need after transplants.
Steve said: “It’s all in aid of Nicola. A young lady who left her mark on many lives. She was so funny and cheeky and we always enjoyed a coffee and cake at the Cavendish Hotel for a meeting about the next event. I’m just sad she won’t be at the future events in person but I know she will be smiling down on us watching her charity make others happy.”