Fylde Coast’s ‘forgotten’ elderly are focus of festive appeal

Ann Hedley

Ann Hedley

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The Gazette has launched an appeal to brighten up the festive season for those who are in hospital at Christmas.

Hundreds of patients on the Fylde Coast will be separated from their family and friends this year.

Please help us to put a smile on someone’s face as they wake up on Christmas morning

Many will have visitors on Christmas Day but others will be alone. They may have no family to share the season with and will no be able to give or receive presents.

But Gazette readers can help - by joining in our Give a Gift Appeal.

The aim of this appeal is for every single patient, in Blackpool Victoria and Clifton Hospital, to receive a present on Christmas Day.

It’s natural to just think of children, but the truth is that the majority of patients in hospital, during winter are over the age of 50.

In fact, of the 682 patients who woke up on hospital last Christmas, 601 were aged above 51 and just 29 were aged 21 or under.

Smyths Toys has kindly offered to donate some toys for the younger patients in hospital, therefore the main focus of this appeal is to try and put a smile on the faces of those older patients in hospital, making sure they’re not forgotten about.

To make a difference, all you need to do is pick up an extra present while doing your Christmas shopping, bring it unwrapped to the hospital of your choice, be that Blackpool Vic or Clifton Hospital and the hardworking staff there will do the rest.

Ann Hedley, head of fund-raising at Blue Skies, the hospitals’ charity, said: “Christmas is a very exciting time of year; one which some people spend months planning, whether it’s having the family over for a festive feast, organising travel to see loved ones or making sure everyone you love from close friends to distant relatives receive a special gift.

“But if you’re in hospital, either as an emergency patient or for a planned procedure, you can’t be with your family around the tree on Christmas morning, swapping gifts and message of festive cheer.

“It’s important that people remember it isn’t only children who like a gift at Christmas, and in fact last year we had more than 600 inpatients in our hospitals who were aged over 50.

“Please help us to put a smile on someone’s face as they wake up on Christmas morning.”