Saturday, March 20, 2010

The charm of Sir Richard rubs off on Perth kids - Fairfax Media - 19th March 2010

There are not many people in the world who can say they have Sir Richard Branson wrapped around their little finger.

But that's exactly what six-year-old Perth boy Jarvis Brett did this morning when he met the billionaire entrepreneur.

Sitting in Sir Richard's lap as the visiting special guest of Perth charity Strike A Chord for Cancer met with some of the sick children he was there to help, Jarvis looked shy as cameras flashed in his face.

But as soon as the formalities were over, the little boy with neuro blastoma showed Sir Richard just how flexible his fingers were, and then delighted in trying to pull Sir Richard's fingers out of their sockets.

Today, Sir Richard will attend a variety of events held around the city in aid of the Perth charity.

Fans of the entrepreneur have forked out up to $3300 each to socialise with him. Those paying the premium price will enjoy a cruise on the Swan River this afternoon on board a 94-foot yacht as they eat dishes created by Knee Deep winery chef Bradley Hornby and drink Billecart champagne.

He will also attend a cocktail function at Indiana restaurant overlooking Cottesloe beach with 200 guests, and a party dubbed Branson by the Pool at Burswood later tonight with another 700. More than 1000 people will attend breakfast and lunch functions at which he will appear today.

Strike A Chord for Cancer offers emergency funds to families who have children suffering from cancer, while also providing them with musical instruments and lessons to help take their mind of their illness. Tonight, a band made up of children who benefited from the charity will play at the pool party.

Sir Richard said he came to Perth for the kids.

"They're fantastic kids, except for the one that's been trying to break my finger!" he said.

"No, he's absolutely adorable. It's a tremendous charity and great to be able to spend the day trying to raise money for it. You can see the joy in the kids' faces, how excited they are to be playing in their band tonight, having been given the equipment by the charity and taught how to use it."

Sir Richard said he travelled the world to attend charity events, and worked on his foundation that raises money for children in Africa.

"I do about 20 events a year," he said.

"I do some speaking and put 100 per cent to the charity, or towards the foundation we have in Africa.

"That's about helping African kids who have different sorts of problems." (Credit: Fairfax Media)