Nicole Scherzinger, X Factor judge and singer, marked the official countdown to Christmas at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) during a special visit to launch Great Ormond Street Hospital Children Charity’s annual Christmas Stocking appeal.

Nicole joined GOSH cystic fibrosis patient Scarlett, seven, for a ribbon-cutting to mark the start of Christmas in the hospital and to launch the charity’s Christmas appeal. The annual Christmas Stocking 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 support seriously ill children from across the UK.

During her visit, Nicole wrote her 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, where families and staff can read them together over Christmas.

Nicole Scherzinger said: “It was such an honour to join Scarlett to launch the Stocking Appeal at Great Ormond Street Hospital and celebrate this amazing fundraising campaign. I was also given the opportunity to meet some truly inspirational patients and families on Koala ward, as well as the incredible staff who go above and beyond, to make the festive season special for those children spending it in hospital.”

GOSH patient Scarlett was five weeks old when she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), after a heel prick test at birth. The genetic condition causes a build-up of mucus in the lungs and other organs, causing a wide range of symptoms affecting the entire body. Scarlett now comes to GOSH every three months for intensive IV treatment and specialist physiotherapy to help clear her lungs of mucus, including most recently when she spent the start of the festive season at the hospital.

Talking about Scarlett joining Nicole Scherzinger for the launch, her Nan Kerry said:

“Scarlett was so excited to meet Nicole, and particularly enjoyed cutting the ribbon to launch the Stocking Appeal. We spend a lot of time at the hospital, so we see where the money goes and what a huge difference it makes.”

During the visit, Nicole also visited the Koala ward, which cares for children and young people who have craniofacial or neurological conditions, epilepsy, or who need surgery to the brain and spine.

Last year, 245 seriously ill children and young people from across the UK spent Christmas day at GOSH. During the festive period, it’s more important than ever for the hospital to feel like a home for these patients, their siblings, and families. By sending a festive message and making a donation to the Stocking Appeal, you are helping to support the seriously ill children who are cared for at GOSH, and letting children, families, and staff know that you care.

The money raised by the Stocking Appeal will go towards the hospital’s most urgent needs, including research into pioneering new treatments for children, the most up to date medical equipment, support services for children and their families, and the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital.

Find out more at gosh.org/stockingappeal