Christmas Giving Tree at Ipswich Hospital brings in gifts for patients and those in need

Natalie Steward and Lucy Filmer from Bergholt children's ward.

Natalie Steward and Lucy Filmer from Bergholt children's ward.

Every patient in Ipswich Hospital will receive a present this Christmas thanks to the kindness of the community.

Ipswich Hospital charity Christmas elves wrap a mound of presents donated by staff and public before

Ipswich Hospital charity Christmas elves wrap a mound of presents donated by staff and public before handing them out to patients and community groups. Pictured: Kate Ashton, Jess Watkins, and Sandra Moore.

Throughout December, staff, businesses and members of the public have left more than 800 donated gifts under the Christmas Giving Tree, which is proudly displayed in the hospital’s Courtyard restaurant.

And yesterday the presents were wrapped and given out to every ward of the hospital ready to be handed to patients on Christmas Day by Santa Claus, who will be played by the hospital’s chief executive, Nick Hulme.

Around 300 parcels of winter essentials such as food and warm clothing were also given for people in need at the Salvation Army, Lighthouse Women’s Aid refuge and the Ipswich Locality Homelessness Partnership.

The giving tree is an idea inspired by Ipswich Hospital’s charity and communications team.


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Kate Ashton, head of charity and fundraising, said: “We had this idea that we wanted to be able to get presents for everyone in hospital at Christmas, around 560 children and adults, and we wanted to be connected to our community and give to people finding it tough at Christmas.

“We set ourselves the target of 800 gifts and we have been amazed, surprised and thrilled by the response we have received.”

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Players from Ipswich Town Football Club donated more than £1,000 worth of gifts paid for from their own pockets for the campaign.

Ms Ashton also gave special thanks to local businesses Aspall and Toppesfield, both of which also contributed more than £1,000 worth of presents.

About 20 volunteers from the hospital have been involved in wrapping and distributing presents, including admin worker from the cancer information team, Clare Gay.

She said: “It’s a wonderful idea and we are lucky to be at home with our families but for these people it’s bad timing.

“It’s great to be able to make it just a little bit more special for them.”

It is the first year that Ipswich Hospital has had the Christmas Giving Tree, and Ms Ashton said they were already talking about doing it again next year.

She added: “I really want to give a heartfelt thank-you to the hospital staff, to our businesses and to everyone from the community.

“Everyone’s generosity has made this happen.”

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