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‘Great community spirit’ as hundreds turn out to support mental health trust’s Christmas fayre

PUBLISHED: 13:38 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 10 December 2017

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. William and Jodie Butler. Photo: Keiron Tovell

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. William and Jodie Butler. Photo: Keiron Tovell

Keiron Tovell

Around 250 people turned out for a Christmas fayre to raise money for a new multi-use games are at a mental health hospital.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Santa, Helen McDermott and elf Guy Lawrence open the fayre. Photo: Keiron TovellNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Santa, Helen McDermott and elf Guy Lawrence open the fayre. Photo: Keiron Tovell

Norfolk’s very own television and radio presenter, Helen McDermott, opened the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas fayre on Saturday, before a whole host of festive frolicking got under way.

Children could visit Santa in his grotto, whilst patients at Hellesdon Hospital, where the fayre was held, had been busy making crafts and treats to sell.

Musical entertainment was provided by Opening Night Ensemble, a local inter-school choir and the Psychobabbles, which includes NSFT’s medical director Dr Bohdan Solomka and Dr Jon Wilson, consultant psychiatrist.

All proceeds from the event will go towards NSFT’s charitable fund, and will be spent creating a games area on the hospital site which service users will be able to use for a range of activities and sports, including basketball, tennis and netball.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Keiron TovellNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Keiron Tovell

Lori Palmer, a jewellery stallholder, said: “There have been lots of smiling faces and it’s been a wonderful atmosphere. It’s also great that the fayre is supporting such a worthy cause.”

Leanne Cross, a service user and maintenance services administrator, helped man the maintenance stall which sold gifts handmade by staff. She said: “It’s been fantastic to be creative and I’ve helped craft some of the items we’ve sold today in sessions after work and at the weekend. It’s been great to be creative and I’ve really enjoyed it- it’s helped our team really get into the Christmas spirit.

“I’m also a service user myself and wanted to support the fundraising for the multi-use games area.”

There was also an opportunity to vote for Inca, a much-loved pets as therapy dog, to win a national award.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Keiron TovellNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Keiron Tovell

Eight-year-old Inca and owner Sheena Scrimgeour, who have made a difference to scores of patients receiving care from NSFT, have made the final six of the contest, arranged by the Pets As Therapy (PAT) charity.

Miss Scrimgeour said: “It’s been a magical event capturing the festive spirit and bringing people together. It’s been heartwarming to see service users, staff and the public interacting with Inca.

“The day has reiterated everything I know about the benefits of animals for therapy. Lots of people have voted for Inca today and we’ve spoken to many people about the work we do.

“Inca and I are very appreciative of the help and support the trust given us in our bid for the award.”

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Opening Night Ensemble Choir  performing. Photo: Keiron TovellNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Opening Night Ensemble Choir performing. Photo: Keiron Tovell

NSFT chief executive Julie Cave added: “It’s been an amazing day, so many people have come along and it’s been really fun, happy and positive.

“There’s been a great community spirit, with local people really getting behind the event.

“We haven’t yet counted up the money raised, but will definitely be doing this again next year because it’s been so successful.

“Thank you to everyone who came along and to local businesses for their generosity.”

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Keiron TovellNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Christmas Fayre 2017 at Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Keiron Tovell

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