Fairy Sparkle


There is a woman walking around in this world, and specifically on our great barbequed continent, who has earned herself an Order of Australia Medal for making people feel happy.  In this day and age of the overwhelming sadness which is a suicide epidemic, of people with their faces stuck to the unreal, animated screen of a phone every second of the day and addicted to the weird act of the selfie, doesn’t that seem a very opposite thing to do?

I thought she be worthy of a story!

The woman’s name is Fairy Sparkle. She lives in a gypsy caravan, and dresses in silvery fairy wings, a gorgeous shimmering crown, a fluffy puffy fairy gown and wanders the café cultures of Sydney with loud bells tinkling. She cares not what people think of her living her life, no lapses, as a real fairy.  Here she is. FairySparkle

Now, everyone is worthy of a dose of happiness, and of someone helping them to get it if they’re having trouble with the job. I reckon that’s the way God designed us – to be happy and to make others feel the same. But we tend to get too busy and can’t fit it in. Or too wrapped up in trying our hardest to grasp happiness for ourselves – no brain space to work it out for others.

But there is a little pocket of the world whom I believe are the most deserving – kids. Born naturally happy – unless you’re a terrible two when you’re sometimes happy sometimes completely psycho – kids should not feel that deep sadness some adults feel because experience has bitten off a bit of their happiness. But some children do unfortunately. You can find them in Children’s Hospitals.

These dark places hold children who are dying. Children who are suffering, severely, and know they might have a lifetime of it. Not happy Jan.

But, Ms Sparkle has changed that. In 1991 she worked in IT – she was a suit! She decided to leave that job (phew), change her name by deed poll to Fairy Sparkle and became a full-time volunteer at the Children’s Hospital in Randwick. Of this, she says: “I followed my passion, I just love it. This is my life’s work.” She sold everything and is homeless, travelling in her silver VW beetle, and sleeping in her little silver “fairy pod” caravan which sparkles all over inside like the night-sky.  She says: “I don’t see it as giving anything up really, because what I’ve gained is far more real to me, than what I gave up.”

“First you have to choose to be happy, and then, just turn up!” Fairy Sparkle OAM.

As well as spreading her love and happiness to sick children and their families, Fairy Sparkle has taken it up as her mission to create fairy gardens at hospitals. If you’ve ever stayed for more than a few days in a hospital you will know how important this is – somewhere you can get fresh air, somewhere you can see the sky, somewhere you can explore, sit, chat, eat, and somewhere you can forget about the terrible world you’ve been ensconced in on the dark inside for such a long time. The first garden was built in 1999 at Randwick, now there are twelve gardens dotted around NSW, from Orange to the North Shore of Sydney, touched by Ms Sparkle’s very own hands, and many more across the country who have taken up her idea for their own space.

I met her when I was in hospital with my little baby Molly for a couple of months, and we found the magic of peace during turmoil in her garden. Fairy Sparkle’s bells tinkling down the corridor would make the weakest, sickest kids sit up, ramrod straight, in bed in anticipation. Her smiling sparkling laughter and down to earth voice captivated their little faces for the entire time she was present. She knew all the right things to say – a very difficult job when it’s a sick and dying child, for what do you say about that?

Parents behaved the same. In fact, they are more happy to see Fairy Sparkle than their kids. Because, if someone makes your child happy, it makes you happy. But when you have a sick child, and someone makes them forget their situation for a short while, well, you want to kiss her bejangled, silvery glittery-shoed feet.

In 2014 she received her OAM. I wish I could have been the responsible person giving it to her – to thank her for the miniscule but permanently impressed joy it gave us all those years ago, would have made me feel so happy… oh! there she goes again. For the future, thank goodness, she says: “There’s a big wand I’ve got to wave and I’m enrolling all sorts of people to help me do it!” The magic will continue to grow.

I have a character based on Fairy Sparkle in my Miss Molly book. The world needs to know about this amazing Fairy.  She is utterly inspiring. And perhaps we could even take up a small part of her cause ourselves. Perhaps, over the weekend, we might walk out into the world and make a big effort to make someone we don’t know, happy.  Spread a little sparkle, you know.

 “I think real magic, the real magic, is when you can’t explain what is happening but the effect is undeniable.” Fairy Sparkle OAM.

Read more and donate here.


The Birth of Benjamin Beetle


Some children’s picture book writing… Illustration  by my son.

Benjamin Beetle stretches his wings;

Two rainbow coloured shields

And flutters up into the sky

Surveying the dry grass fields

B Beetle
Benjamin Beetle, by Oliver Lenehan ©

He’s just been born in Australia, you see

It’s hot and full of sand

And the first thing he needs, he decides, decisively,

Is friends, to make his life grand  


He sets off out upon his mission

Wondering what will be his fate.

He spies some buzzing around a light source

And thinks, “That’s my kind of mate”.


Mary Mosquito sees him coming

And grumpily turns away from him;  

Not a smile, a wave, nor even a hello

To welcome our poor little Benjamin.


All the other mozzies turn away from him too,

Buzzing close up to the light;

They’ve got their cranky pants on today

Pulled up high and tied up tight


Benjamin flies sadly to the ground,

A little tear upon his cheek

Then looking about he spots Adam Ant

With his troop marching to the beat


“Hello, I’ve just been born here,

And I really need a friend”

Adam looks at him without stopping

Frowns, and marches on round the bend.


Our Beetle sighs and looks up to heaven

Sadly wishing he not been born,

But then he sees Daryl Daddy Longlegs

Looking also very forlorn


“Hello?” Benjamin asks unsurely

Daryl’s sad mouth sinks lower down

“What’s the matter?” asks our Beetle

“Humans! How I wish I was a hound…”


“…All they do is swat or squash us,

“They’re scary!” says spider Daryl.

“Oh dear,” weeps Benjamin Beetle

Trembling and hiding inside a barrel


“Yes, stay away from them I would”

But just as he starts to enthuse,

Daryl screams and swings off on a web

Leaving Benjamin upset and confused.


“I give up,” he thinks, as he turns to leave

“On this friendless life of failure”

But then shadows loom all dark above him,

A spaceship landing in Australia?


“AH!” he cries and the insects look over

And all scream in fright as well,

As a human child comes toward our friend,

Trapping him under a clear plastic bell.


“HELP! HELP!” screams Benjamin inside the bell

Flying round and round in fright

“Get me out! Please! No not a human!”

But there is not one friend in sight.


From behind the curtain they are watching

Frightened for the newcomer’s fate

“A bug catcher!” cries Daryl

Adding, “I warned him far too late!”


But something strange begins to happen

As they watch the scene down on land,

The human child puts our Benjamin Beetle

Very gently upon his hand


“Hello my Christmas Beetle,

I do love it when you come,

Because you tell me that very soon

Will be all the Christmas fun!”


Benjamin smiles up at the human

And the human smiles right back

Then Benjamin looks up to Mary and Daryl

And Adam on the curtain track


“Go my little Christmas friend!”

Says the kindly human child

And Benjamin flies up to all the others

Who finally look at him and smile.


“You’re brave! You’re clever! You’re a miracle!” they cry

Playing safely under a warming sun

And ever more, our brave Benjamin Beetle

Has a grand life of friends and fun.


Felicity Lenehan 2016 ©





Saving Miss Molly

The first man told me he could see nothing wrong. “But bring her back in four hours and we’ll have another look.”

The next woman said it was usually nothing but we’ll do the standard blood tests and xray.

The next man, an hour’s drive away, said we’re going to operate. Now.

They said to sing to my limp six month-old baby as she fell off the precipice of consciousness and into emergency surgery.

The next man said “It’s pneumococcal disease. I think we’ve got it. Now she’ll have medicine in her jugular for a month.”

That man got out of his bed at 1am in the dead of winter, tiny to save our baby’s life. He came to visit the next morning. He looked like he could cry when he said to me “you’ve had a bad night hey? Is she not doing that well?”

At later bad news he did suggest a tear in my presence. “I’m sorry I couldn’t hide my worry…” I said I wouldn’t get through this with a doctor who didn’t show he cares.

We were “part of the furniture” they said, we were there that long. Women and men crowded around us like a pair of arms, carrying us, caring for us, showing us love while we were isolated from those who loved us. My baby floated upon their compassion, up and down, through needles, tubes, oxygen and isolation. They dragged me when I stopped, heavy on the outskirts of their responsibility, crying, sleepless, insane and unsure.

‘Nurse’ and ‘doctor’ are silly words. These people have God in them. They save lives. They saved mine: Our baby survived.

Sydney Children’s Hospital made her little life that is less, much more.

Monday 8 June is the Gold Telethon, a fund raiser for the hospital. You never know, you may just need it too one day. http://www.goldweektelethon.com.au/views/donate.aspx