Presents roll in for The Gazette's Give a Gift appeal

As the first week of The Gazette's Give a Gift appeal draws to a close, we take a look at the success it's had so far.

Friday, 2nd December 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:52 pm
Give A Gift for the Blackpool Gazette campaign

Books and toys are among the gifts that have already been donated by generous Gazette readers keen to brighten up the Christmas period for hospital patients this year.

Half a dozen Fylde coast stores have registered as drop-off points for gifts and staff are delighted with the number of people getting involved so far.

One of the first to be announced was Marks and Spencer, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and store manager Samantha Sinclair said they have already received a number of donations.

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She said: “We’ve had quite a few so far. Since it was in the paper, we’ve had quite a few people in. We’ve had a bit of everything. We have had toys but mostly we’ve had books and smelly things.

“It makes a nice change because others are targeted to children. I think people forget about older people over Christmas and are more inclined to think of children not getting gifts than the older people in hospital.”

Booths, at Poulton’s Teanlowe Centre is another drop-off point and Richard Sykes, the store manager said they’ve also seen a positive response.

He added: “We’ve had customers coming in asking about it and I think as time goes on it will gather pace. It’s just good to be part of the community.

“We have 20,000 people coming through the doors every week and it’s a good opportunity for them to be able to drop things off without having to make a special journey.”

Nicci Hayes, Fundraising Officer at Blue Skies said: “The appeal is going well.

“We have had a few gifts donated here and have collected the toys from Smyths.

“We have had some wrapping paper donated from B&M on Vicarage Lane and Whitegate Drive, so we’d like to say a big thank you to them.”

Since announcing it would be donating “hundreds of pounds worth” of toys for children in the hospital, Smyths Toys has joined Asda, on Cherry Tree Road, in becoming the latest addition to the list of drop-off points.

On Monday, at 7.30pm, Blue Skies will also be holding their “Tree of Lights” event at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

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How to get involved

It’s really as easy as picking up one extra present when you do your Christmas shopping. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A lot of places do ‘buy one get one free’ offers at Christmas time, so you might end up with something spare that somebody in hospital would really appreciate. Then just take the presents unwrapped to one of the designated drop-off points.

Confirmed drop-off points

• Blue Skies Hospital Fund, Blackpool Victoria Hospital

• Marks and Spencer, Blackpool Victoria Hospital

• Morrisons, Squires Gate Lane, Blackpool

• Booths, Teanlowe Centre, Poulton

• Poppy and Jacks Nursery, Breck Road, Poulton

• Smyths Toys, Vicarage Lane, Blackpool

• Asda, Cherry Tree Lane, Marton

What to buy

Sabila Johnson, Ward Manager of the Care for the Elderly ward at Blackpool Victoria, recommends toiletries, biscuits, games, books - the list is exhaustive. If in doubt, just ring the Blue Skies Hospital Fund on 01253 957903

What not to buy

There is strictly no alcohol allowed.

Dangerous items such as knives are also not permitted.

Sabila Johnson also added that socks are a bad idea, unless they have grip, due to older patients being at the risk of falls.

Boxes of chocolates may be a bad idea as a number of older patients suffer from diabetes.