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Hospital launches ambitious Christmas bid for more than 1,000 presents for patients

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 22 October 2018

L-R: John Lewis staff Jacey Hymas, Alison Rowland, Ann Walker and Ashley Edwards hand over the soft toys to Kate Lloyd from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Neil Didsbury

L-R: John Lewis staff Jacey Hymas, Alison Rowland, Ann Walker and Ashley Edwards hand over the soft toys to Kate Lloyd from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

It is a place where no one wants to be on Christmas Day, while families across the county are opening up presents or tucking into their turkey.

But for patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), spending the day on a ward will be given an extra bit of cheer, as health bosses again urge people to give gifts to be handed out on the big day.

The annual Send a Smile with Santa campaign aims to collect more than 1,000 presents donated by the public and businesses, and has again been backed by this newspaper.

The gifts are then distributed to the patients, both young and old, unable to celebrate at home with their families and who will be spending Christmas Day in hospital.

While many hospitals offer presents to those on the children’s ward on Christmas Day it is thought the NNUH is one of the only trusts in the country to ensure every single patient has a treat to open.

NICU Family Care Assistant, Kate Lloyd from the N&N hospital with John Lewis staff Alison Rowland, Ann Walker, Jacey Hymas and Ashley Edwards. Picture: Neil DidsburyNICU Family Care Assistant, Kate Lloyd from the N&N hospital with John Lewis staff Alison Rowland, Ann Walker, Jacey Hymas and Ashley Edwards. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Chief nurse Nancy Fontaine said: “Our clinical teams do their best to ensure a lot of patients are able to spend Christmas at home, but there will always be those who must remain in hospital during the Christmas period, including those brought in as emergency cases on the day.

“Our staff work hard to make Christmas a happy time for patients and families, but it is always extra special to receive a gift on the day.

“We are hugely grateful for all the presents donated each year and we would love to be able to do the same this year.”

John Lewis department store in Norwich gave the appeal an early boost with the donation of 45 Jelly Cat toys – one for each of the babies who will spend Christmas in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Louise Cook, NNUH head of fundraising added: “We’ve had such a heart-warming response from the people of Norfolk in the past so we hope we can also reach our target this year.

“Please think about us if you are shopping for gifts and maybe buy one extra for a patient – gifts don’t need to be large and can be items as simple as toiletries or a puzzle book. Every year we struggle for men’s gift so we urge people to think about items which may be suitable such as a shower gel.”

All presents must be received by December 8. For more information, contact Mrs Cook on 01603 287107 or email fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk

Presents should remain unwrapped so that the hospital can ensure that presents are individually tailored and wrapped for each patient, as well as protecting against potential infection. In addition to gifts, the hospital would also welcome donations of gift bags.

A wishlist is available on the John Lewis website by visiting bit.ly/1qVN7kd and typing in code 751747 or an list is also available on Amazon at amzn.to/2NPwIBc

The hospital cannot accept homemade gifts, electrical items, sharp objects or any used goods.

Gifts can be dropped off at:

• Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich;

• West inpatient reception level one, NNUH;

• Costa Coffee, London Street, Norwich;

• Jet service station, Norwich Road, Halesworth;

• Norwich railway station customer service.

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