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‘Everyone deserves something’ - Top nurse backs hospital’s Christmas gift appeal

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:04 29 October 2018

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital chief nurse Nancy Fontaine, left, with staff from Kimberley Ward. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital chief nurse Nancy Fontaine, left, with staff from Kimberley Ward. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Geraldine Scott

A hospital Christmas gift appeal which was believed to be the first in the country to cater to adults as well as children has received backing from the trust’s top nurse.

Professor Nancy Fontaine, chief nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), said there would be a “real community and family feel” on the wards this year, as presents were handed out to those spending the big day in a hospital bed.

Prof Fontaine, who started at the NNUH in August, said: “We have to try and make it as normal as possible in an abnormal time.”

She said many staff asked to work on Christmas to help bring festive cheer to those unable to be with their families.

And as well as giving out presents, carols would be sung by the hospital choir to spread the joy even more.

She said: “The staff here really enjoy it and make the most of being here and celebrating. Everyone is in a really nice mood.”

The Send a Smile with Santa campaign started four years ago and is supported by this newspaper. Unlike other campaigns around the country the aim is to give a present to every patient, while many appeals focus on children’s wards.

It means securing gifts for patients in each of the trust’s 13,000 beds, as well as extras for those who arrive during the day.

Prof Fontaine said: “That’s the position of it, everyone deserves something.”

Hayley Cook, sister on Kimberley ward, said working on Christmas Day was “a really nice atmosphere”.

She said: “We give out crackers to patients and staff usually play some festive music, it’s fun.”

Louise Cook, NNUH head of fundraising added: “We’ve had such a heart-warming response from the people of Norfolk in the past so we hope we can also reach our target this year.

“Please think about us if you are shopping for gifts and maybe buy one extra for a patient.”

All presents must be received by December 8. For more information, contact Mrs Cook on 01603 287107 or email fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk

Presents should remain unwrapped so that the hospital can ensure that presents are individually tailored and wrapped for each patient, as well as protecting against potential infection. In addition to gifts, the hospital would also welcome donations of gift bags.

A wishlist is available on the John Lewis website by visiting bit.ly/1qVN7kd and typing in code 751747 or an list is also available on Amazon at amzn.to/2NPwIBc

The hospital cannot accept homemade gifts, electrical items, sharp objects or any used goods.

Gifts can be dropped off at:

• Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich;

• West inpatient reception level one, NNUH;

• Costa Coffee, London Street, Norwich;

• Jet service station, Norwich Road, Halesworth;

• Norwich railway station customer service.

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