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Last chance to give a little festive joy at Blackpool hospital

Voluntary Services Officer Catherine Henshaw with some of'the donated gifts for Blue Skies Hospitals Funds Give a Gift Appeal.
Voluntary Services Officer Catherine Henshaw with some of'the donated gifts for Blue Skies Hospitals Funds Give a Gift Appeal.

Fylde coast folk are being urged to Give a Gift once more to bring festive joy to those in hospital this Christmas.

Following on from last years successful Give a Gift appeal run in the Gazette, Blue Skies Hospital’s Fund, is again aiming to spread some festive joy this year on the big day.

The charity for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,is asking for people to buy one extra gift as they carry out their Christmas shopping, and donate it to be given to a patient.

Bosses estimate around 800 people will be staying in hospital overnight on Christmas Eve, with the majority being people aged over 60.

Julie Myers is a ward clerk on the stroke unit and she said the patients were thrilled to receive their gifts last year.

She added: “It made such a difference to the people we had in over Christmas.

“Being in hospital isn’t how you would plan to spend your Christmas, but that extra bit of joy really brightened up the day. It’s a very warm feeling knowing someone has taken the time to buy something extra for our patients.”

This year, the appeal already has enough presents for any children who may be in hospital at Christmas, so Blue Skies is only after presents suitable for people from the age of 13, and because so many inpatients are over 60, the charity is asking for presents suitable for older men and women.

Gift suggestions include toiletries, books, games, stationery, hats, scarves and gloves. No food or alcohol can be accepted, and gifts should not be wrapped.

But time is running out and gifts should be given to a designated donation point on Monday, December 18.

Head of fundraising, Kila Redfearn, said: “Last year this appeal was a huge success, with patients waking up to a gift on Christmas morning.

“We receive presents for the younger generations in the run up to Christmas, but it’s the elderly who often get forgotten at this time of year. So we really would like to receive presents for the older generation, particularly for men.”

Gifts can be donated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital either at the Blue Skies office or Marks and Spencer in the main entrance. Other collection points are at Asda Blackpool, Smyths Toystore, DW Fitness, Morrisons Blackpool, Lo-cal Cookhouse and Ashton Gardens Café in St Annes.