Brighton boy who fought life-threatening brain tumour visited the Formula 1 Grand Prix

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Ravi Adelekan, a nine-year-old boy from Brighton, was one of 12 children and their families who had their wish granted to visit the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone over the weekend. This is thanks to a £30,000 donation from the Poundland Foundation to Make-A-Wish® UK.

Ravi was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age six, after a sudden onset of facial palsy caused his face to become lopsided. After undergoing a life-saving operation at London’s King's College Hospital he returned home, and within a week he had gone from bed-bound to being able to move around in his wheelchair before learning how to walk and feed himself again.

Since his recovery, Ravi has appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, where he made it to the semi-finals thanks to Alesha Dixon’s golden buzzer, and he won a Pride of Britain award in 2023. Ravi has long been a lover of sports, especially Formula 1 as he cheers on his favourite driver Lewis Hamilton. He loved visiting Silverstone and watching the race, as well as learning about what goes on behind the scenes.

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He was joined by 11 other children for the weekend — all of whom are avid Formula 1 fans. They all received their very own wish packs bursting with goodies including personalised F1 water bottles, mugs and a signed F1 poster. Each of the children’s packs were made up and sent out ahead of the weekend by trustees of the Poundland Foundation which, since partnering with Make-A-Wish UK in 2017, has granted 667 wishes for critically ill children.

Ravi with with British racing driver Landon NorrisRavi with with British racing driver Landon Norris
Ravi with with British racing driver Landon Norris

Ravi cites Lewis Hamilton as one of his heroes and took so much inspiration from the seven-time World Champion when recovering from surgery on his brain tumour. After having read multiple books about Hamilton’s drive, determination and never-give-up attitude, Ravi threw himself into his recovery, and then turned his mind to trying to help other children with brain tumours like his. To date Ravi has raised over 130k for brain tumour charities and continues to try and raise awareness of brain tumours.

Ravi met several other famous faces at Silverstone including British driver Landon Norris and Valtteri Bottas from Finland, Plus Darts Player Luke Littler and Toto Wolff the CEO of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

The F1 wish included travel to Silverstone, a three-night stay in nearby accommodation, a four-day pass including tickets to the opening concert, and a 30-minute tour of the paddock provided by Formula One. There was no shortage of activities for the children to get stuck into over the weekend, and the packed programme includes things like Lego building, a Rally Road Racers film screening, entertainment by Dick and Dom, and an enthralling game of Super pirates.

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The 9-year-old from Brighton said “The weekend was already amazing but to see Lewis win at Silverstone was the most amazing experience. This has been one of the best weekends of my life.”

Ravi with his mom, dad and sister MayaRavi with his mom, dad and sister Maya
Ravi with his mom, dad and sister Maya

Lucy Ruff Poundland’s Charity Foundation Manager said: “It means so much to all of us at the Poundland Foundation that we were able to help give these 12 children the experience of a lifetime at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix at the weekend. We’re totally in awe of how children like Ravi and Luke have persevered to overcome what to many may seem like insurmountable challenges, and we’re sure that their courage and tenacity will inspire people across the country for years to come.”

Jason Suckley, Chief Executive of Make-A-Wish UK said “We are incredibly grateful for the support Poundland Foundation continues to show our wish families. Thanks to them, 12 of our wish families were granted their wish to go to the British Formula 1 Grand Prix. We couldn’t do what we do without the kind of support we have from the Poundland Foundation, the donations from their incredible colleagues, customers and suppliers really does mean everything to the children and families who turn to us.”

Find out more about the Poundland Foundation here.

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