'Bright' Victoria to be a TV star

Victoria Calland, who is appearing in Channel 4's The Secret Life of Four and Five-Year-Olds
Victoria Calland, who is appearing in Channel 4's The Secret Life of Four and Five-Year-Olds
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Brave youngster Victoria Calland is set to appear in homes around the country after taking part in a popular television programme.

She was chosen to appear in Channel 4’s The Secret Life Of Four And Five Year Olds, which follows children as they join a specially rigged school in north east London.

Viewers can watch as the youngsters meet for the first time, while a team of experts watch it all unfold.

Four-year-old Victoria took part in filming after treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer.

She underwent chemotherapy and travelled to the USA for proton beam therapy, completing treatment in December.

Explaining why she applied for the show, her mum Jennifer, who lives in Wigan, said: "Victoria had just come off cancer treatment, which from her perspective, entailed being in hospital a lot and being away from her friends for nine months.

"During some of the darkest hours of her treatment, what got Victoria through was the thought of being reunited with her friends at pre-school.

"Also, I felt like a year of childhood had just been stolen from Victoria. So, I wanted to give Victoria a novel experience and we feel lucky and grateful that she was cast for Secret Life and she has had a wonderful, memorable experience with the new friends she made while making season three.

"I also wanted to give a face and a voice to children who suffer from cancer and bring more awareness there.

"There has been little incentive for researching child friendly treatments for cancer."

Mrs Calland described Victoria as "bright, spritely and a mini-force of nature" and said she could "make friends in an empty room."

Despite worries when they first arrived in London, they went ahead with filming - though Mrs Calland remained tight-lipped on what Victoria did at the school.

She hopes the programme will make a real difference.

"Victoria has life-altering side effects from her treatment, just like every cancer child has," she added.

"However, if learning about Victoria’s story inspires someone to pick up the phone to talk to a parent-carer of a child they know with cancer, if her story helps give some hope to the families we know who are suffering on hospital wards right now, if Victoria’s story encourages viewers to donate blood, register as an organ donor, or register as a liver donor, if Victoria’s story encourages folks to dig deeper and find a way to participate in MacMillan Morning, give to CLIC Sargent, or support smaller charities such as the Chris Lucas Trust which gives all of its donations to researchers who are trying to find cures to the specific cancer Victoria has, then our job here is done."

She also hopes the nation will take Victoria into their hearts.

She said: "I hope they see what so many other folks tell me that they see in Victoria. I hope they are entranced by her charisma and enjoy knowing what a great person she is."

The Secret Life Of Four And Five Year Olds returns to Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 8pm, from November 7.