Our history

We exist for one reason to grant magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.

Wish child Liam smiling, looking at Spiderman

Our story started in 1986. Inspired by the story of Chris Greicius, a young boy fighting leukaemia in the US, Make-A-Wish UK was formed to grant magical wishes to seriously-ill children in the UK.

We worked from offices above a shop in the town of Camberley, Surrey, and relied on the generous support of local volunteers to help us grant wishes. We granted four wishes in our first year. The very first wish was granted to Anthony from Liverpool, who went on a magical trip with his family to meet the Disney characters in Disney World Florida.

As word spread about our work, more and more people began coming forward to volunteer their time. In our second year, we granted 13 wishes. We took on our first full-time member of staff in 1989. And by the end of our fourth year, with the support of a growing team of passionate volunteers, we'd granted 100 magical wishes. Our volunteers would spend nearly every weekend out and about across the country – giving presentations, accepting cheques, and spreading the word about Make-A-Wish. And as more families turned to us, we began setting up regional offices and taking on even more volunteers so we could keep granting wishes. There was never a dull moment.

We're still based in Camberley today, employing 50 members of staff. And volunteers are still at the heart of our organisation – their kind support has helped us grant over 9,000 magical wishes to date. But we need your help to keep granting more. Find out how you can become a volunteer or other ways you can support us, or read about some of the magical wishes we've granted.

Wish child Priya in back of Jeep at zoo, smiling, giving double thumbs up to camera