A brave young woman will return to the stage this Christmas to perform to a sell-out crowd, raising funds for two local organisations.

Annabelle Riley, who was born 11-weeks prematurely and suffered a life-threatening brain haemorrhage, has always dreamed of becoming a singer. Last year she made her stage debut alongside mum Caroline at the annual Kirklees and Calderdale Charity Lunch (KACCL). Now 19, Annabelle and her mum will take to the stage once again on the 5th December to bring some festive cheer to the annual business event, aiming to exceed last year’s staggering fundraising total of £32,000.

Following her premature birth, Annabelle spent three months in a Special Care Baby unit, during which time she was given mere hours to live after suffering a brain haemorrhage. Annabelle continues to require support from her mother, grandparents and brother Fraser as well as a number of healthcare professionals at their specially adapted home in Brighouse. Annabelle also receives lots of support from all staff at the additional needs school she attends and from the Orange Box Choir community.

Annabelle has honed her musical skills through the Orange Box Choir, a beneficiary of the KACCL event, allowing her to develop her talents as well as providing some incredible experiences. Since performing at the KACCL event last year, Annabelle and the Orange Box Choir have performed alongside the world-renowned blind pianist Derek Paravicini at the Square Chapel as well as collaborating with York University, Halifax Pride, Forget Me Not, the Piece Hall and local additional needs school Ravenscliffe on a number of special projects and performances.

The choir won the Group – Community Award at this year’s Calderdale Youth Awards as well as being nominated in the North Halifax Neighbourhood Awards and the Community Spirt Awards.

Annabelle’s mum Caroline, who is just as involved in the choir as her daughter, said: “Since joining the Orange Box Choir Annabelle has really found a sense of belonging in both her local and wider communities. She has something to look forward to and be excited about aside from her family time and studies at college.

“Annabelle illustrates that there is so much ability within disability. Alongside the team at Orange Box Choir, Annabelle is able to reach for the stars and take on these incredible opportunities like performing for a second time at the KACCL event.”

This year’s lunch will provide much-needed funds for the Orange Box Choir in association with Square Chapel Arts Centre and Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. Both organisations continue to provide life-changing support and services to children and their families within the community.

The event is made possible by the KACCL organising committee, comprised of businesses from across the region including JR Group UK, Chadwick Lawrence, Stafflex, Faith PR, Brug Consultancy, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, Cedar Court Hotels, Hellomint, Eastwood and Partners and headline sponsors Crowther Chartered Accountants.