Celebs Love Lichfield

Celebrities Make Surprise Christmas Visit To Community Groups In Lichfield

TV celebrities AJ and Curtis Pritchard paid a surprise visit to Lichfield this week (Thursday 12th December) to see the work of community fund We Love Lichfield that raises money and then distributes it as grants to small voluntary groups across the area.

Currently starring in the panto Cinderella at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, the dancing brothers met patrons of the We Love Lichfield Fund which is giving grants worth £15,000 to good causes in the district this Christmas. They visited Friends 2 Friends; a support group for young adults with learning difficulties that has received funding from We Love Lichfield. And met Andy Kerr, a Lichfieldian whose aunt sponsored the pair as youngsters to attend dance school helping to propel them to Strictly and Love Island fame.

See the video here: https://vimeo.com/655029118/857961a4e4

Curtis Pritchard said, “Organisations like We Love Lichfield are at the heart of the community and when we were invited to visit, we jumped at the chance. But for me it is seeing the work in the community first-hand that opens your eyes to those special people who give up their time to help others. We met the amazing leaders of Friends 2 Friends who have had grants from We Love Lichfield. They had organised for the group to see how music records are produced and we made a surprise visit. The expressions on everyone’s faces were amazing and it was great to singalong with everyone.”

During the visit the brothers met Andy Kerr for an emotional chat. Andy’s aunt Theresa sponsored and mentored AJ when still a young boy at dance school. Always telling him to reach for the stars, she sadly passed away before seeing him become a national darling of dance on TV show Strictly Come Dancing.

AJ Pritchard said, “When Curtis and I met the We Love Lichfield patrons, I also had the privilege of meeting the nephew of one of the most important people I have ever met. Theresa Kerr sponsored and mentored me while still at dance school. She encouraged me, telling me to take every opportunity but to also make sure I remained grounded. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her backing and to meet her nephew Andy was emotional.”

Andy Kerr said, “Many years ago I visited my Aunt Theresa Kerr, in Cheshire, and she told me about a couple of fabulous young dancers she was encouraging, sponsoring, and mentoring. She said one day they would be famous. Sadly, she passed away before the pair reached their current showbiz heights, I so wish she could have seen what they have achieved.

Alison Wellon of Friends 2 Friends said the members of its F2F Voices group were delighted to record a Christmas song at Swan Music in Lichfield and with the surprise visit from AJ and Curtis. She said, “They were lovely and chatted to our members and then sang with them. We had a great morning.”

Alison also wished to thank We Love Lichfield as a £1,000 grant received in 2019 is helping fund an awards night for the group this year. She said: “It is because of We Love Lichfield that we are able to hold the event. It will be lovely to celebrate the achievements of the group during the pandemic. Funding from We Love Lichfield has helped purchase trophies, medals and decorations so that Friends 2 Friends members can enjoy a special gala evening.

Adrian Jackson, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Wolverhampton Grand Theatre said, “Community engagement and cultural enrichment is at the heart of our organisation, and it is always a pleasure to support We Love Lichfield which helps so many people in the local area. As a very active supporter of this fund, I am delighted that so many organisations have received awards and I hope our visit with AJ and Curtis made the day extra special for everyone”.

Simon Price, patron of We Love Lichfield said, “A huge thanks to AJ and Curtis for visiting Lichfield and seeing the work that is so important in our community. It makes what we do so worthwhile. Also, thanks to The Grand Theatre for being so helpful in arranging the visit during their busy rehearsal schedule.

“We Love Lichfield give small grants to a wide range of projects across the Lichfield District. The fund gives grants twice a year with the Christmas giveaway being extra special. Since we started 10 years ago, we have given away over £275,000 to nearly 200 groups who are quite frankly the glue that keeps much of our community together.”