Every hospital patient on the Fylde coast will get a present this Christmas Day – thanks to the generosity of Gazette readers.
The Give a Gift appeal has smashed its target to collect 700 presents in under four weeks.
In total, 789 presents were donated and they will be handed out to patients, aged from five to 95, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Clifton Hospital on Christmas Day.
Nicci Hayes, fundraising officer with Blackpool Victoria’s Blue Skies charity, said: “We’re really amazed and pleased.
The spare presents ensure there will even be presents left over for next year.
Gloves, hats, toiletries, biscuits, toys and books have been donated, meaning that everyone from the age of five to 95 won’t wake up empty handed on Christmas Day.
Nicci said: “The staff have been coming down collecting the presents and they’re all really happy with them.
“They’re quite surprised by the generosity and they can’t wait to give them to the patients.”
Nicci’s gratitude extended to The Gazette.
She added: “That big push that you’ve done for us has really helped.
“We were short of men’s and luckily we had just enough men’s presents in the end. We had enough for ladies already so it’s worked out perfectly.
“We were getting quite concerned which is why we did the push for the men.
“Everybody’s come to the rescue in the community.
“Every patient will get a present on Christmas Day and every male and female will get the right present for them.
“We’re chuffed to bits.”
The Gazette and Blue Skies’ gratitude extends to all of the local businesses who either donated or acted as a drop-off points during the appeal.
Nicci said: “Massive thank you to all of the community.
“We want to thank businesses that have donated gifts and wrapping paper as well, as that was a big deal.
“If we didn’t have the wrapping paper we wouldn’t have been able to do it.
“So a big thank you to Smyths Toys, Morrisons, Asda, Booths, Poppy and Jacks, Marks and Spencer and B&M –which donated wrapping paper. I’m scared of missing people out!
Nick Sheridan, Store Manager at Smyths Toys, added: “It’s been really good for us because it gets us involved in the community.
“All of our staff have got involved in it, they’ve all bought a present for the trolley.
“I’m actually surprised how many trolleys we’ve filled up!
“I think we’ve had four or five trolleys full and we still have a few bits that I’ve got to give to Blue Skies.
“It’s definitely something I want to do next year as well.”
Another store which definitely did its bit was Spar, on Dickson Road, which donated a number of presents, from deodorant to gloves and everything in between.
Sue Evans, from Spar, said: “Every year we donate to a charity from our carrier bag sales.
“This year, I read in The Gazette about the Give a Gift appeal and that’s where it stemmed from.
“I think there was about 140 presents all together and then we gave them a £300 cheque in case they were short.
“We were just really happy to help with the good cause this year.”
Nicci added: “Spar have been brilliant.
“When they dropped their presents off, they asked if we needed more and they brought us a load more gloves and hats for men, which came in handy.
“It’s been a brilliant success really and we’ll be doing it next year.”