A birthday surprise like no other

Date published: 24 March 2020

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When Christian Kilduff had to have his birthday party cancelled because of self-isolation, a local fancy dress company stepped in to make sure Christian still had a wonderful birthday surprise.

Christian, five, was due to have a birthday party on his birthday, 19 March, which was sadly cancelled on current advice to avoid mass gatherings and self-isolate because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a local fancy dress company, Fancy Dress Mad, was determined that Christian, who has cerebral palsy, shouldn’t miss out on his birthday celebration – and paid a visit to the family at their Heywood home.

Both Laura Devine and daughter Elizabeth, who run the fancy dress shop, have been offering free FaceTime sessions for children who are self-isolating to cheer them up. However, in a special visit, Peter Rabbit visited Christian, waving through the living room window at the birthday boy before the duo had a little dance-off.


Peter Rabbit visits a thrilled Christian and Jade
Peter Rabbit visits a thrilled Christian and Jade


Jade Kilduff, 18, who runs the online channel 'Sign Along With Us' with her little brother, videoed the occasion for their channel.

She said: “Although he was a little wary, he's not stopped saying ‘wabbit’ and going to the window since; it's really made his birthday fun. Thanks Fancy Dress Mad for spreading positivity and light at difficult times.”

Laura, of Fancy Dress Mad, said: “I thought I would offer free FaceTime videos to children at home that are self-isolating to cheer them up.

“Christian’s mum got in touch and told me it was his birthday and his party had been cancelled. As they only live around the corner, I thought I would call.

“It made my day - he was so happy, and they are a wonderful family.”

Determined to improve the lives of those with disabilities, Jade set up the group ‘Sign Along With Us’ in January 2019, a daily sign-of-the-day video page which has become an internet sensation, teaching Makaton which she uses to communicate with Christian.

Makaton signs are based on the gestures used in BSL, but it is used in conjunction with speech and in English grammatical word order.

Over 100,000 children and adults use Makaton symbols and signs, either as their main method of communication, or as a way to support speech.

Peter Rabbit visits Sign Along With Us's Christian and Jade for Christian's birthday

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