TOM Fletcher, McFly singer, author and dad marked the official countdown to Christmas at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) during a special visit to launch GOSH Charity’s annual Christmas appeal.

Tom joined GOSH patient Charlie and his family in the heart of the hospital to cut a festive red ribbon to announce the start of the Stocking Appeal and to unveil this year’s decorative Christmas scene. The annual Christmas appeal encourages members of the public to send a message of hope and support to children and families at GOSH over Christmas and to make a donation to the charity to help fund its vital work.

During his visit, Tom wrote his own message of support which, along with thousands of other messages, will be displayed on paper stockings to decorate the wards. The messages will also be shown on a digital screen as part of the display at the hospital which was unveiled today, where families and staff can read them together over Christmas.

GOSH patient Charlie, age nine, is being treated at GOSH for a heart and lung condition called pulmonary hypertension which means there is a lot of pressure in the right side of Charlie’s heart that constricts his blood vessels. He has to wear a special backpack 24-hours a day which delivers a mixture of different medication into his bloodstream. Without these drugs, Charlie’s heart wouldn’t be able to pump blood from his heart to his lungs. He also recently had surgery at GOSH to replace a valve in his heart.

Charlie’s mum Helen said:

“We were so excited to meet Tom and be part of the ribbon cutting with him today especially as Charlie has loved reading his books! Charlie has been coming to GOSH since he was a baby and we’ve spent a lot of time here, so we know how much families and patients will appreciate these Christmas messages. It gives you a bit of positivity while you’re here and it’s nice to know people are thinking of your family at Christmas. It’s a fantastic hospital and supporting all the families who come here is such a worthwhile cause.”

During the visit, Tom also brought festive fun to Koala ward which treats children and young people with craniofacial (head and face) and neurological conditions, epilepsy and those who need surgery to the brain and spine.

Tom Fletcher said:

“It was an absolute honour to be part of the Christmas countdown at Great Ormond Street Hospital today and having the opportunity to meet with such inspirational children and their families. Hearing their stories and finding out more about the fantastic care that the hospital provides and how the staff try and make this festive season as special as possible was so heart-warming.

“The Stocking Appeal is the perfect way to let seriously ill children at GOSH know you’re thinking of them in the run-up to Christmas. Every donation to the charity makes a huge difference and I’d encourage everyone to get involved by sharing their messages of support.”

In the run-up to Christmas, it’s more important than ever for the hospital to feel like a home from home for seriously ill children who are being treated there, and family members who support them by the bedside. Decorations are put up around the wards to add some festive sparkle – this will include the messages shared by members of the public as part of the Stocking Appeal.

The money raised by the Stocking Appeal will go towards the hospital’s most urgent needs, from pioneering research, state-of-the-art medical equipment and the rebuilding and refurbishing of the hospital to support services for families and patients including parent accommodation so mums and dads can stay close by when their children are in hospital over Christmas.

To make a donation and send your message of hope and support to the children of Great Ormond Street Hospital, visit today.