Young patients of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital had their festive spirits lifted thanks to a shopping park, its retailers and generous members of the public.
Manchester Fort Retail Park helped transform the hospital’s playroom into a winter wonderland by providing a grotto and decorations for the annual Christmas party.
It is the first time a shopping park has been involved in RMCHs festivities. Party Delights, Boots, Nike and The Works all donated dozens of prizes, kid’s activities and decorations, including a floating Santa and Rudolf balloon, to help put a smile on the faces of children and teenagers who will be spending Christmas in hospital.
Manchester United’s goalkeeper David de Gea and Midfielder Andreas Pereira also made a surprise visit.
Alan Martin-Wooten, father to four-year-old Layton said it is just what his son needed after his appendix ruptured causing him to be hospitalised for the last few weeks.
He said: “Events like these are fantastic, they bring so much excitement and joy to not only the children but also the families who spend time in hospital together over the festive period.
“Layton particularly loved the colouring tablecloth. Everything from the decorations to the entertainment and presents, it’s been an overall wonderful event.”
Party Delights CEO Vincent Lynch says his team loved being involved.
He said: “it’s wonderful to see businesses coming out of their daily routines to spread some cheer to those who need it most.
“I instructed the team to spare no expense putting the decoration bundles together and it was a pleasure to see the joy it brought to the children and their families.”
And it wasn’t just the children who were in for a treat. Manchester Fort’s centre manager Derek Askew presented the hospital staff with several hampers and gifts on behalf of the shopping park.
He said: “We are delighted to have been able to make this year’s Christmas party extra special for the patients and families of Royal Manchester Children’s hospital.
“It was one of the proudest days of the year to see the excitement our donations brought to the young people.
“It was important to us to not forget the inspirational staff who go above and beyond at this time of year to make the festive season special for young people and their families who will be spending it in hospital.”
Manchester Fort arranged a Gift Appeal at the retail park, where members of the public donated four large bags worth of presents for both children and teenagers.
Susan Fairclough, head of play services, said: “Every year we receive some very generous gifts to pass on to our young patients but some of the children we look after are a bit too old for toys, so we are extremely grateful for all the presents we were able to give to them and we even had enough for the parents too.
“Our aim is to make Christmas as best as it can be for our patients and their families as it’s tough having to spend Christmas in hospital and we cannot thank Manchester Fort, its retailers and members of the public that all helped make this year’s Christmas party extra special.”
For more information about the latest news and events at Manchester Fort, visit www.manchesterfort.co.uk or follow @manchesterfort on Facebook