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Sunday, 23 January 2022

Christmas in hospital made special by generous present donations

CHILDREN spending time in hospital got some early Christmas presents as hundreds of gifts are delivered to sick children throughout Sussex.

Since the beginning of December present collections have been taking place across the county with the aim of making the festive season a little more special for children spending Christmas in hospital.

In Churchill Square, in Brighton, the well-known Giving Trees have been in place since the beginning of December with 277 gifts being donated so far by generous shoppers at the centre. The first batch of these was delivered to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital with help from Father Christmas and his Elf helper Nicola Henderson, CEO of Godstone Farm, one of the charity’s corporate Christmas supporters.

Nicola said: “At Godstone Farm, our motto is to see everything through a child’s eyes, and there’s no time more special for this than Christmas. On behalf of all the team, both two and four-legged, I am delighted to support Rockinghorse in the important work they do for sick children and their families.”

More Radio donated toys to the charity as part of their annual Toy Appeal.

Lou Nash, a presenter on the station, said:

“Christmas can be such a difficult and emotional time for many people, and it’s heartbreaking knowing that there are so many children in Sussex who won’t have the magical Christmas they deserve.

“Our Toy Appeal is our way of bringing a smile to the faces of as many children across Sussex as possible. With the help of our listeners, we are able to support around 50 local charities and reach thousands of children, to ensure they have a gift to unwrap on Christmas Day.”

And Louise Williamson from Burgess Hill organised a toy collection with a drop off point in Mabel’s Emporium, the same spot they held their successful donation last year.

Louise explained why she wanted to help:

“I’m so pleased to be able to support Rockinghorse again this year. Last year’s toy collection was so successful that I really wanted to organise another one this year.

“We spent our first Christmas with my daughter Katelyn at the Royal Alex and the staff were incredible. They really did make a difficult situation the best they could, and their kindness really touched me. I only hope that this year’s toy collection can make a difference to other families spending time in hospital this year.”

Along with these generous donations, there has also been a range of local businesses and community groups who have organised toy collections in support of Rockinghorse this Christmas.

All of the donated gifts are being distributed to hospitals and support services throughout the county including the Royal Alex and Trevor Mann Baby in Brighton, the Princess Royal Hospital, Special Care Baby Unit and Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Haywards Heath, and Worthing and Chichester Hospitals.

Janella Merritt, Head of Fundraising at Rockinghorse, expressed her gratitude for all the donations the charity has received this Christmas: 

“This has been another challenging year, which doesn’t look like getting any better for a while, which is why we are yet again blown away by the support that we have received from the local community.

“Families with poorly children in hospital have only been allowed one visitor at a time over the last couple of years, which at Christmas is really difficult with families having to spend the festive season apart from each other. But these gifts will really help bring a smile to the faces of so many children this year. We can never thank everyone who has donated enough, but we hope that each and every one of you knows the difference you have made.”

To find out more about the charity or to make a donation this Christmas, visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk or call 01273 330044.

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