Plea as poorly children face loss of presents

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Every year poorly youngsters on Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s children’s ward wake up to an extra bit of Christmas cheer – a sackful of presents to open from Santa Claus.

But this year, fears are growing that Santa’s visit will be cancelled after a town centre business which has regularly contributed to the ward’s present appeal, said it could no longer supply children on Christmas Day.

So nurses on the ward are today using The Gazette to launch a special appeal for help to keep the tradition alive.

Play specialist on the children’s ward, Gaye McDonald, said: “We get so many donations from friends and families on the ward which is really wonderful and we are so grateful.

“However, for years we have had one business donate a pile of presents which we give to the children on Christmas Day.

“We are always so grateful for that donation but this year they are unable to help so we are left a little short.

“There are so many good causes that I know businesses support but if one would like to contact us to make a donation of toys it would really make the children’s Christmas in hospital a little more bearable.”

The children’s ward has around 32 beds which accommodate a mixture of babies and toddlers, five to 13-years-olds and teenagers.

A spokesman for Blackpool NHS Teaching Hospitals said: “Every year the children’s ward at Blackpool Victoria Hospital takes donations of toys and gifts from local businesses for the children to open on Christmas Day.

“This year though the stockings might be empty unless another business is willing to step up and help out.”

If any local business would like to offer to donate a selection of toys call the children’s ward play team on (01253) 953437.