BIG-HEARTED staff at a Wrexham restaurant served up a treat for a charity which makes dreams come true for seriously ill children.

The team at Frankie & Benny’s in the Eagles Meadow shopping centre went out of their way to raise as much cash as possible for Rays of Sunshine, which is their company’s chosen charity, and ended up with a very healthy £350.

Set up in 2003, the charity aims to brighten the lives of youngsters between the ages of three and 18 who are living with serious or life-limiting illnesses across the UK.

Frankie & Benny’s supervisor Andy Whitehouse said: “We did all sorts of things to raise money for Rays of Sunshine, which is a fantastic charity and deserves lots of support.

“One of the main things we did was to sell Kids Eat Free Vouchers for £5 apiece, the money from which went towards the charity.

“The vouchers entitle kids to eat free here at our restaurant as many times as they like over the course of 12 months.

“They proved very popular and the money we got from them helped to boost our final total quite a bit.

“Apart from the vouchers we also did the traditional thing of asking our customers to guess the number of sweets in a jar, which again was a bit hit and had lots of people scratching their heads and doing lots of calculations.

“We also asked diners to make straight donations to the charity in a collection box on the counter or a big yellow bucket.

“Everyone got well into the spirit of things and it gave a great atmosphere to the Easter holiday here in the restaurant.

“We have about 20 staff working at Eagles Meadow and all of them enjoyed getting involved.

“We’re very pleased to have raised a total of £350 in just a couple of days, especially as it’s in such a good cause.”

Another of the Frankie & Benny’s supervisors who helped out with the fundraising was Ashley Blake who said everyone at the restaurant had been more than happy to help.

He said: “Rays of Sunshine is a great family charity and as we are a family restaurant we are all rallied round to raise as much money as possible.”

Peter Cross, the manager at the Eagle Meadows branch of Frankie and Benny’s was delighted with the fundraising efforts of his staff and the generosity of their customers.

He said: “Rays of Sunshine, which receives no government funding, is a fabulous charity which grants wishes which offer a distraction to hundreds of children during their time in hospital or a hospice.

“Staff at Frankie and Benny’s Eagle Meadow put a lot of effort into charity events throughout the year and always give 100 per cent when it comes to backing events.

Eagles Meadow shopping centre manager Kevin Critchley was impressed.

He said: “To raise more than £350 is a wonderful effort and everyone involved at Frankie and Benny’s deserves a pat on the back.

“It never ceases to amaze me what staff of Eagles Meadow outlets will do to raise money for charities and good causes.”

A recent example of Rays of Sunshine making a seriously ill youngster’s dream come true was when the charity arranged for reality TV star Joey Essex to turn up at the home of a seven-year-old lad from Birmingham who is one of his biggest fans.

The boy, named Callum, is currently living with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia – a cancer of the blood – which he has been receiving chemotherapy treatment for since he was three years old.

Luckily, he is now in remission but is constantly in and out of hospital for regular check-ups.

When applying for his Rays of Sunshine wish his mum said: “Callum is Joey’s biggest fan. He is very selective about what he watches on TV, but made sure to watch I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here to see Joey Essex. His face always lights up with a huge smile when he sees Joey.”

Joey said: “When I heard about Callum’s wish, I jumped at the chance to go and meet him. I loved the idea of popping round for a cuppa at his house and surprising him.”