Childrens' delight as Santa arrives

PUBLISHED: 21:11 19 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

PEOPLE in and around Ipswich showed how big their hearts were by donating hundreds of toys to children whose Christmasses may not be as joyful as some.

PEOPLE in and around Ipswich showed how big their hearts were by donating hundreds of toys to children whose Christmasses may not be as joyful as some.

Around a month ago, Ipswich Hospital League of Friends launched an appeal for toys to be donated to be given out to youngsters who were likely to spend their Christmas in hospital or who are regular visitors to its clinics.

Organisers were absolutely stunned at the response they received to the appeal as literally thousands of teddies, games and other toys flooded in.

Yesterday, children at the hospital got the surprise of their lives when Father Christmas wandered onto the ward, with a trolley full of presents to give out.

Once he had given presents to all the children in the ward, he then went round all the clinics as well as the Accident and Emergency department to distribute even more.

This is only the second year that the appeal has been going and organiser Jane Symes, from the League of Friends, said it just keeps getting better and better.

She said: "It has been absolutely fantastic this year – last year was wonderful but this year has been absolutely phenomenal, there are still toys coming in now.

"I would like to say a very, very big thank you to everyone for their generosity."

There were so many toys donated that they are now being bagged up to be split between the Children's Hospice, Great Ormond Street Hospital and West Villa, an Ipswich organisation that gives refuge to homeless families or single people who may find themselves without a place to go this Christmas.

As well as collecting toys, the League of Friends have been busy raising £10,000 for an Oto Acoustic Emissions machine which tests new born babies hearing for defects.

That was presented to the audiology department yesterday.

Grahame Hunt, manager of Hearing Services, said that the machine would be a great asset to the them.

He said: "If we have a child born with a hearing problem from day one we can amplify for them in the first stages of life.

"This can then help with their speech and language and can also be used for adults as well."

In the last year the League of Friends had bought £100,000 of equipment for the hospital with money raised from fundraising.

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