Leicester

Cleft palate: Girl, 8, launches support club

Sophie-Mae Raynor cleft palate
Image caption Sophie-Mae Raynor said she was proud of the response to her group

An eight-year-old girl said her dreams had come true as she launched her own support club for children with cleft lip and palate.

More than 120 people attended the first Kids Sunshine Club event in Leicester on Saturday.

Sophie-Mae Raynor said she started it so she could meet new friends, adding she hoped it would help others with the condition.

The event raised money for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association (Clapa).

One of the most common birth defects in the UK, cleft lip and cleft palate affects about one in 700 babies.

Image caption Sophie-Mae said she hoped the group raises awareness about the condition

Sophie-Mae said the idea for the group came when she spoke to her grandmother, Diana Williams.

Sophie-Mae said: "She told me lots of children are born with cleft lip and palates, and I said 'where are they then?', so we looked at pictures of other children with cleft lip and palates all over the world.

"I then asked the big question, 'Why can't I meet the children and make friends with them to play, a bit like when I go to Brownies?'."

Sophie-Mae thanked everyone for attending, adding: "My dream has come true."

Image caption Sophie-Mae's grandmother Diana Williams (left) and family friend Angela Knight help to run the club

The club is hoping to meet up four times a year, with a summer day trip and Christmas party planned.

Committee member Angela Knight said the name was inspired by Sophie-Mae herself.

"Whenever I greet her I always say 'hello my little sunshine girl'," she said.

"All our family members absolutely love that girl, because she's an absolute joy and a delight."

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