Children’s special hospital visit from Santa for present-giving campaign

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with Ethan Messenger, 2. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Youngsters spending Christmas in hospital had their mornings brightened as Santa popped in to deliver their gifts.

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with Ethan Messenger, 2. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Children staying in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's Buxton Ward received the visit - and presents - from Father Christmas on Monday morning.

The hospital's chief operating officer Richard Parker donned the distinctive red suit for the occasion as part of its Send a Smile with Santa drive.

The campaign encouraged local people and businesses to donate gifts, so every inpatient in hospital had something to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Mr Parker said the team was 'fantastically grateful' for the donations they had received.

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with Juan Oliviera-Gonzales, 6. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

'Nobody wants to be in hospital for Christmas,' he said, 'so to try and make it special and cheer people up as much as possible is really important.'

As Mr Parker made his journey through the ward - which even had snowy footprints created by its staff - he greeted youngsters and their families.

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They included Greg and Emma Tunmore, who were in hospital with their nine-year-old son Charlie.

Mr Tunmore, who said the family hoped to be back at home by Monday night, said they were 'so grateful' to hospital staff for going out of their way to lift their moods.

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Ethan Messenger, 2. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

'It's heart-warming what they've done,' he said. 'They've made a difference to what is not a very nice time.'

He also met mum Kirstie Messenger, who was in hospital with her son Ethan.

The two-year-old has been on the ward since October after a string of health issues, which mean he now relies on a colostomy bag and feeding tube.

On Christmas Day, the youngster, a twin, opened dinosaur toys and a doll pram from Father Christmas - and was soon up and about taking the pram on a tour of the ward's corridors.

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Ethan Messenger, 2. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Mark Davies, chief executive of the hospital trust, said: 'For some people, this means everything.

'We are so grateful for the support of the public, companies and organisations who have helped with our campaign.

'It's a real joy to be able to talk to patients and give presents which can mean so much at this time.'

The campaign's goal was to see more than 1,000 presents collected for patients.

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with Iris Garner, 6 days old, and her mum Isobel. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton W

Santa delivering presents, donated to the Send a Smile for Santa appeal, to children on the Buxton Ward at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with Kaychanel Wilson, 14. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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