One of Britain’s best-loved actresses, June Brown, is launching The Children’s Society’s annual Christingle campaign, to help raise £1.2 million for the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people this Advent and Christmas season.

June, whose TV acting career spans almost 60 years, is launching the Christingle campaign which is raising awareness of the issues that affect disadvantaged children. Funds raised will go towards providing life-changing support to vulnerable children, and making sure their voices are heard.

In the UK there are almost 4 million children and young people dealing with hardship, abuse and neglect which are ruining childhoods and future prospects. June’s support will encourage people to attend one of the family-friendly Christingle fundraising events in schools and churches in their local area.

The celebrations, which have been held across the country for almost half a century, include singing and storytelling for both children and adults and revolve around children creating Christingles – a decorated orange with red ribbon, cocktail sticks and sweets. These, as well as a candle, highlight different parts of the Christian story.

Last year, the charity was able to work with more than 18,000 children with the help of the generous donations made at Christingle services. The charity works with children who are affected by issues such as child sexual exploitation, those leaving the care system, those struggling with mental health issues, those running away from care, young carers, refugees and migrants.

On supporting the campaign June said, “I love Christmas. It’s a time of such blessing and a reminder of God’s love for us and the hope we have in the birth of Jesus. It also offers a chance to remember those who are less fortunate, children and young people whose voices aren’t being listened to and whose problems are being ignored.

‘That’s why I’m supporting The Children’s Society’s Christingle celebrations, as money raised will go to support children and young people in this country who are suffering from terrible hardship, abuse and neglect. It’s why Christingle is so important, as it reminds us of the hope we can bring to thousands of children and young people in desperate need, especially at a time of year that often highlights their loneliness, and lack of loved ones to support and protect them.

‘I think of God as a force of love, and there’s no better time than Christmas to share his love by supporting the work of The Children’s Society. Please help them to bring hope out of despair, to listen and act at this special time of year to transform the lives of children and young people who have nowhere else to turn.’

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: ‘We are delighted that June, with her profile and genuine compassion for our causes, is supporting our Christingle campaign this year and helping to spread awareness of the work we do to support disadvantaged children.

‘So many vulnerable children and young people feel ignored and we want to make sure they are listened to so they can have the best possible chance in life. These Christingle events make it possible for us to carry on our vital work and transform the lives of more children in need of our help.’