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Press Release

‘Thank you’ for Christmas visits and donations, from all at Leicester’s Hospitals
Press release date04/01/2019
Leicester’s Hospitals would like to thank each and every person who was involved in the Christmas visits and donations to our hospitals during the 2018 festive season. We have been overwhelmed with generous donations and a host of special visitors putting smiles on the faces of patients and staff alike.
Press release

Every year, we are extremely grateful to the players from Leicester City Football Club and Leicester Tigers for taking the time out of their busy schedules to visit patients and their families at Leicester’s Hospitals.

  • On the Leicester City visit, Anna Duke, head of nursing at Leicester’s Hospitals said, “It’s really busy at this time of year, so it’s nice for the staff to get to meet the players and actually the pleasure that we as staff get out of seeing the children meet the players is incredible.”

  • Leicester Hospitals Charity was recently able to purchase two brand new LCFC-branded PlayStation 4 portable units using funds generously donated by the football team.

Debbie Adlerstein, head of business development at Leicester Hospitals Charity, said, “We are grateful to the players for helping us to buy these terrific portable PlayStation 4 units to help entertain patients in our children’s emergency and outpatients departments. It means patients being treated in our hospital can enjoy playing as their heroes on FIFA with fellow patients, or with their families – which can really help make their time in hospital that little bit easier.”

On the Leicester Tiger’s visits, matron Joanne Ennis, said: ‘“It was an absolute pleasure to show the Leicester Tigers players around some of our wards. All of the patients and staff thoroughly enjoyed meeting them. They took the time to speak to each and every one. They showed a great deal of compassion and were genuinely touched by what they saw and heard from our patients. They are a real credit to their sport.”

Leicester Riders basketball team and Loughborough Lightning Women’s rugby team visited Leicester General and the Royal Infirmary respectively. The Riders handed out signed programmes to patients in the Haemodialysis Unit and Urology wards, while the Lightning brought some festive cheer to the fracture clinic and Gynaecology wards. Leicester Riders player Harrison Gamble returned to the Royal a few days later to donate a £400 voucher to the play specialist team. 

Rebekah Vardy visited maternity and neonatal at Leicester Royal to wish staff a Happy Christmas. Rebekah was shown around the maternity wards and neonatal unit, meeting newborn babies, their parents and staff.

There was another special moment in maternity at the Royal when supermarket Lidl gave the ward a ‘Christmas upgrade’. Midwife Sue Keating-Rogers works every Christmas and her daughter Hannah entered a competition to do something special for her this year. Hannah won and Lidl came in to decorate the ward, giving ‘Granny Sue’ a lovely surprise.

Patients on Ward 23 at Leicester Royal were treated to a school choir when Whittle Class from Croft C of E Primary School came in to sing some festive favourites. They were also entertained by a group of Lindy Hop Dancers. Organised by our meaningful activities facilitators, the ward was filled with swing music to help bring in a little festive spirit.

From Mid-November, Leicester’s Hospitals in conjunction with Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, ran the annual ‘Making Christmas Special’ campaign in which the local community is encouraged to donate a small gift for older patients spending Christmas day in hospital. There was an incredible response, with over 1,500 gifts donated and distributed to each ward by our volunteers, to be handed out on Christmas morning.

Alison Reynolds, volunteer services co-ordinator for Leicester’s Hospitals, said, “We would just like to say a huge thank you to all of the individuals, groups and staff who donated gifts to enable us to make Christmas special for all of our patients again this year. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone.”

Tony Donovan, executive director at Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, said, “Once again we have been overwhelmed by the public’s generosity donating gifts for the Making Christmas Special campaign. By working together we have no doubt lifted many people’s spirits on Christmas day and aiding their recovery knowing that they are thought of at this time of year.”

Nikki Beacher, head of service for community hospitals at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said, “Our patients were delighted with the many generous gifts they received from Age UK supporters. Our staff put a great deal of effort into making our wards special places at Christmas, and greatly appreciate the thought that went in to donating these presents.”


Labour MP for Leicester South and Shadow Secretary of State for Health Jon Ashworth, and Labour MP for Leicester West Liz Kendall both showed their support for the campaign. Jon Ashworth MP visited the Happy Times Café in the new emergency floor at the Royal to hand over his gift, while Liz Kendall MP handed her gift in a Glenfield reception, before visiting Ward 17.

Jon Ashworth MP said, “Leicester’s Hospitals’ ‘Making Christmas Special’ is a fantastic initiative which I regularly support. It is so good seeing the community come together to help and support older patients who, sadly, will be too ill to leave hospital this Christmas.”

Liz Kendall MP said, “I visited Glenfield Hospital to deliver my gift for an older person staying in hospital this Christmas. Christmas can be a very lonely and difficult time for many older people. [This campaign can] help make Christmas special for them.” 

As well as the official visits and campaigns, we were delighted to accept a huge amount of generous festive donations to our hospitals. The ‘Leicester Chocolate Elf’ donated 150 advent calendars to children’s wards and the emergency department at Leicester Royal. Police Community Support Officer Paige Martin donated 100 selection boxes to the children’s wards at Glenfield Hospital.

Kyle and Sam raised over £2000 for Ward 12 at the Royal after baby Isla was a patient on the ward. The money was raised from a skydive and went towards toys for the ward. Mel Carte also gave presents to Ward 12, by asking her friends and family to donate gifts. 8-year-old Ben Clark, who collects microfibre cloths at kart races, washes and dries them, then sells them on to raise money, purchased a selection of toys and games for Ward 17 at the Royal.

The community of Wigston donated gifts to Ward 12 too, as well as the Children’s Short Stay Unit at Leicester Royal. The Emma and Hope foundation charity donated toys to Ward 11 at the Royal and these were delivered by Olivia, aged 8, a former patient on the ward. Natasha Lindsay, play specialist at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “The toys are very much needed on the ward and will be much appreciated! Thank you.”

Stacey Dowe, ward 9 sister at Leicester’s Hospitals, organised a collection of non-perishable items that were then put into hampers for older people in the community. Stacey said, “This idea was created to help older people out in the community who may be lonely or cannot get out to the shop independently. We asked staff across all three hospitals to donate two tins of food or a non-perishable item. We created 20 hampers from the donations, from the Leicester Royal ward 9, ward 17, ambulatory surgical unit, maternity newborn hearing services and haematology day clinic.”

Local marketing company Creative Triangle and property builder Davidson Homes both donated a large amount of toys to the children’s wards across Leicester’s Hospitals. The Co-op on Groby Road also gave some chocolates and toys to the children’s wards, while the Co-op’s Santa and his elves bought in lots of gifts for the neonatal unit.

On behalf of everyone at Leicester’s Hospitals, we’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who generously donated to our hospitals over Christmas – we are extremely grateful and thankful for the support.

We would also like to thank all our staff that worked tirelessly over the festive period to continually provide caring at its best.

Thank you.


Contact information:
Contact information
For any media enquiries, please contact:
Robert Knowles
Communications Officer
0116 258 8761

High resolution version of below photo available on request.
Press release number
Christmas 2018 - Thank you