6th March 2017
The Voice contestant Diamond performed at Barking & Dagenham College, on Friday night, to help staff and students raise money for charity.
Former student Diamond, 19, from Romford, who is currently appearing on TV in the Voice, came back to Barking & Dagenham College to take part in ‘Big Yellow Friday’, a day packed full of entertainment in aid of the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.
Holding the event at the College was the idea of one of the members of staff, Maxine Ison, whose baby grandson Freddie suffers from a type of liver disease called Biliary Atresia. He also has mirrored organs which means they appear on opposite sides of the body than they typically are.
As Freddie’s mother, Hannah Gorbell says: “Liver disease isn’t really something you think about and Biliary Atresia, which Freddie has, is very rare, only affecting about one out of every 18,000 infants.”
As it is so rare, Freddie’s condition wasn’t diagnosed until he was six weeks old, thanks to Hannah’s persistence, many tests and a stay at Kings College Hospital. Four days after diagnosis Freddie underwent an operation to remove his bile duct and attach the liver to the bowel and intestine directly. Unfortunately, the operation hasn’t been a success and Freddie is now waiting for a liver transplant. However, despite having to take over 10 different types of drugs each day and being very prone to infections, Freddie is a fighter.
Hannah continues: “Freddie is now six months old and is so active. He’s really happy and sociable and he loves meeting new people.” This is something that Freddie got to do at the event, where he enjoyed being introduced to everyone!
By coincidence, another member of staff at the College, Esther Adebayo, has a child with the exact same liver condition and mirrored organs too. Esther’s daughter had a successful transplant at 13 months old and is now seven years old and thriving. Esther commented: “It was an unexpected ‘miracle’, when I got a phone call during the middle of the night from my daughter’s nurse.”
Diamond sung three songs, including the song she sang for her audition on The Voice 'If I Ain't Got You'. When asked how it feels to be back at home (she’s studying at Coventry University at the moment), Diamond said: “I miss being Barking & Dagenham College; university is different, you have to be very grown up, whereas at college, the teachers are like second parents.
“I felt it was important to come back to the college to help with this charity event, because doing charity work is something I would like to be able to do as I get more successful. And I love children!”
Unassuming Diamond is stunned by her growing success on The Voice, commenting: “It hasn’t sunk in yet, I’m still a bit overwhelmed, I just can’t believe that I’m a step closer to my dream.
“I’m really pleased that Gavin chose me. I feel really comfortable around him and I think I will learn a lot from him.”
Girl band Alien Uncovered from the 2015 series of the X Factor also sang several songs at the event including their debut single Handle It which is out now. Singer Shae said; “As this event is for charity and is local to me - I’m from Hornchurch – we wanted to lend our support.”
During the day, many students dressed in yellow in support of the charity. There was also face painting, special treats in the College’s beauty Salon, a pool competition, henna designs and performances from the College’s choir group. They raised over £1000 in total for the charity.
Diamond will appear next on The Voice on Sunday 12th March on ITV1. A video of her performing at the college on Friday night can be seen on our Facebook page.