Thursday 26 April 2018

Hanni's celebrity happiness quest

Schoolgirl Hanni Blaskey has persuaded 100 celebrities to reveal the secret of what makes them happy
Schoolgirl Hanni Blaskey has persuaded 100 celebrities to reveal the secret of what makes them happy

A schoolgirl has persuaded 100 celebrities from Olympic medal winners to chart-topping singers - as well as the Prime Minister - to reveal the secret of what makes them happy in a heartfelt effort to raise money for charity.

Hanni Blaskey, 13, from Hampstead, north west London, waited outside music studios and followed celebrities through airports in her determined bid to create a book for the BBC's Children in Need appeal.

Undeterred by hundreds of unanswered emails and rejection letters, she pushed on to gather 100 handwritten notes and drawings after presenting her idea to the charity TV show.

Among them, Scottish tennis player Andy Murray reveals his dogs make him happiest because they don't know he is famous while Sir David Attenborough said the sun rising behind mountains never fails to make him smile.

American singer Nicole Scherzinger and pop star Pixie Lott both shared a love of sweets, but Sir Alex Ferguson looked a bit deeper and confessed the secret of his happiness is his 48-year marriage to wife Cathy.

Hanni, a student at Queenswood School in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, said: "The first people I approached were Little Mix. I waited for them outside their music studio and I was really embarrassed to approach them but they were so nice that it gave me a boost.

"I had to keep writing to people and really chase them up but I was determined to keep asking and asking, even though it was a bit embarrassing sometimes.

"I remember getting a letter through the door one weekend from Hugh Dennis and it was so exciting."

Others high profile figures to write in the book include Lond Mayor Boris Johnson, Sir Paul McCartney, comedian Michael MacIntyre and ex-footballerGary Lineker.

Hanni came up with the idea two years ago while watching the annual Children in Need appeal after being struck by the story of a young girl who cared for her mother.

"I decided I had to do something to raise money and started thinking about a book that could appeal to everyone," she said.

"I thought 'what if I ask celebrities what makes them happy?' and thankfully Children in Need liked the idea.

"I think happiness can be so many different things which is why it is an interesting topic.

"To think it was an idea in my head and now it's a published book is amazing. I just hope it raises money."

What Makes Me Happy? is only available to buy at Sainsbury's for £3.

Press Association

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