Jimmy Osmond meets children at Springfield School to raise cash for a minibus

WITNEY GAZETTE – March 11, 2017 – Michael Race

JIMMY Osmond may have narrowly missed out on winning Celebrity Masterchef, but the entertainer used his cooking skills to help a special school in Witney raise funds for a new minibus.

A group of children at Springfield School put on aprons and made an omelette with the 53-year-old singer ahead his ‘Cooking with Jimmy’ show this evening.

And Osmond revealed he could be spending more time in the county as he looks to buy a home in the area.

The star’s visit was to launch the school’s fundraising campaign to buy a new minibus with wheelchair access, so it can transport its pupils aged between two and 16.

Money raised from the ‘Cooking with Jimmy’ will go towards the new minibus and people can donate here.

Greeted with huge applause and smiles from families at the school, the singer said seeing the joy on the children’s faces was ‘what life is all about’.

He added: “It lightens your life up when you see these little kids and they desperately need assistance and help.

“What is really interesting is looking at the caregivers here and they are happier than the kids. Talk about a great job, I mean, it’s a very difficult job but you know, it’s humanity at its best isn’t it.

“We do a lot of work in America with children’s hospitals and my two kids needed a children’s hospital, so I was quite active in helping raise money and awareness.”

Witney Gazette:

Osmond, who has also launched his final UK tour with his brothers which starts in October, said he found out about Springfield School from a member of staff who is also a friend.

“I donated some toys over Christmas, and she was telling me about the school and the whole Masterchef thing came up”, he added.

“We are going to have a fundraiser because they desperately need a minibus, and you look at these little kids and there’s no way they could get here or get around without it.

“I thought yeah, if I can cook and raise some money. You can just tell all these people are genuine and sincere about helping these kids.”

He joked: “Nobody wants me to sing anymore they just want me to cook.”

Springfield is the special needs school for West Oxfordshire and educates pupils from two to 16 years.

All pupils have profound learning difficulties, often combined with severe medical conditions and behavioural problems.

The school aims to place a strong emphasis on teaching life skills that will enable pupils to live as independently as possible.

When asked what had made him come to the county, Osmond said: “I love it here.

“I have a good buddy that lives close and over Christmas I rented a house here and we went all the way through Witney and got all of our Christmas presents there and went to movies and I just fell in love with this area.

“I’m here a lot in the UK, I’m here about five months a year so I have been looking to try and buy a place close.”

Witney Gazette:

Lisa Benson, communications manager for the school, said the pupils were excited to meet the singer.

She added: “He is quite attached to this part of Oxfordshire apparently.

“You can see the passion that he talks about the school. He came up and met us and the pupils and gets a feeling for how much the staff and the pupils really bond and how we work hard to give them every opportunity.

“We start from the basis that every child deserves the opportunity to fill the whole potential.

“He is spending quite a lot of time here and wanted to be part of the community and he does quite a work in the US with children’s hospitals, so it fits nicely with his charity work he does already.”

Ms Benson said two out of four of the school’s minibuses are on their ‘last legs’, adding one had just been deemed unsafe for the roads.

She said: “What we really need is a 17-seater minibus that you can take a few of the seats out and you can get a couple of wheelchairs in there as well.

“A lot of the pupils would essentially be stranded in school if we didn’t have the minibuses, because we couldn’t get them out and they can’t walk very far.

“We have to fundraise to pay for all of our minibuses, none of that is covered by a budget.”

‘Little Jimmy’ will join his fellow Osmond brothers for their final tour of the UK in October.

He said the tour was ‘bittersweet’ for him because it was the last big one for the trio.

He added: “I have always had such an affinity for this country.

“You guys made me feel welcome when I was a little boy you know and let me do crazy things like go in the jungle and cook.

“I call them friends, some people call them fans, but these people have stuck with us.

“This is my 50th year in show business since I started on the Andy Williams Show and I was three and I have never stopped and these people have stuck with us the whole way.”

Article originally posted at witneygazette.co.uk

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