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'It's reduced me to tears': Griff Rhys Jones on heartbreak of seeing families at children's hospice

PUBLISHED: 18:01 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 November 2019

Griff Rhys Jones outside The Ipswich Regent where he will host his Happy Christmas Ipswich show with an all-star comedy lineup. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Griff Rhys Jones outside The Ipswich Regent where he will host his Happy Christmas Ipswich show with an all-star comedy lineup. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

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He is bringing one of the biggest ever celebrity parties to Ipswich which will be full of joy and laughter.

Griff Rhys Jones outside The Ipswich Regent where he will host his Happy Christmas Ipswich show with an all-star comedy lineup. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Griff Rhys Jones outside The Ipswich Regent where he will host his Happy Christmas Ipswich show with an all-star comedy lineup. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

But celebrity Griff Rhys Jones has spoken movingly of how seeing the heartbreak families face at the town's Treehouse hospice, the cause which his star-studded show is raising money for, has reduced him tears.

The comedian, who rose to fame through television programmes such as Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones, has been an ambassador for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) for several years.

He has organised comedy shows to raise money for the charity over the past few years, including at Portman Road.

However he plans to top that this year with one of the Ipswich Regent Theatre's most star-studded shows ever, with comedians such as Lee Mack, Katy Brand and Stephen K Amos joining him on stage.

Lee Mack is one of the comedians performing at the show. Picture: IAN WEST/PALee Mack is one of the comedians performing at the show. Picture: IAN WEST/PA

Mr Rhys Jones, who lives in Suffolk, said: "I said to all those guys: 'Come and stay at my house, have a bit of a party and then we'll extend the party for everyone at the Regent."

Asked if Happy Christmas Ipswich - Griff Rhys Jones and Friends on Tuesday, December 3 would be Ipswich's very own celebrity party, he said: "There's an element of that," with the variety show also including an auction and some "big surprises".

Yet behind all the laughter is a serious cause of helping EACH to raise funds to continue its vital services at the Treehouse and its other hospices in the eastern region.

Mr Rhys Jones is keen to stress "that the hospice is not just about death, but it's about allowing people to get the most out of the life they have remaining".

The show will help to raise money for The Treehouse Hospice.  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe show will help to raise money for The Treehouse Hospice. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

However asked about his reaction on seeing families at the hospice, he said: "It breaks you up.

"I find it difficult to imagine how people find the strength to cope. It's something that can reduce you to a terrible state of tears."

Asked if it had reduced him to tears, he replied: "Many times," adding that the courage people at the hospice showed had moved him to try and help.

The comedy evening, which starts at 7.30pm, will also include Al Murray and Jess Robinson.

There are a variety of seating options available, ranging from general seats for £32.50 or a limited number of 'best seats in the house' for £100.

There are also a small number of VIP meet and greet tickets which are £250 per person.

Becky Redbond, EACH events fundraising manager, said: "This is truly a star billing, with those who come along assured a unique evening of hilarious laughs."

To book tickets, click here.

For more details about EACH, visit the charity's website.

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