A TEENAGER who shares the same life-shortening condition as her six year-old brother had a surprise visit from her pop idol, James McVey, of chart-topping band, The Vamps.

Annabelle Hover, 14, who receives care from Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire Children’s Hospice, and is currently featuring in their Christmas appeal, can be seen bursting into tears of happiness in a heart-warming series of videos released by the charity. Staff at Julia’s House wanted to express their thanks to the plucky teenager who is a committed fan of The Vamps, and arranged for James McVey, a patron of Julia’s House, to pay a surprise visit to the Corfe Mullen hospice. The video shows Annabelle and James as they enjoy some time together playing guitar and singing songs by The Vamps before Annabelle is played a special message from lead singer Bradley Simpson, who cheekily suggests that she could replace James in the band.

Annabelle is expected to live to her late teens or early twenties due to Juvenile Batten disease – a devastating condition which has taken her sight and causes seizures and dementia. Tragically, Annabelle’s younger brother Robbie has also been diagnosed with the condition. Annabelle and her mum and dad, Lisa and Andy, bravely tell their moving story in this year’s Christmas appeal for Julia’s House, asking the public to help raise money for the life-changing care and support provided by the charity to families like the Hovers.

As well as regular hospice sessions the Julia’s House care team visit Annabelle and Robbie at home to give their parents some precious respite time and help them make the most of every moment they have together. “Quite often we have to listen to The Vamps back to back for the entire two or three hours that we are in the house, one track after another,” explains Celia Ellis, Annabelle’s Lead Nurse at Julia’s House. “And she always laughs because I never know the words!”

The care and support given to the Hover family and others like them, is only possible thanks to the generosity of the public. Julia’s House receives just five per cent government funding, and relies on fundraising, donations and gifts in wills for the majority of the money needed to run its vital service.