Jimmy's Farm star unveils Ipswich Hospital Children's Appeal countdown
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Farmer and television presenter Jimmy Doherty has unveiled a new fundraising countdown for "vitally important" improvements to an Ipswich children's care department.
Ilustrator Emma Graham has created a stunning display to chart how much Ipswich Hospital's appeal to upgrade its "drab and dated" young people's department has raised.
As an ambassador for the £2.5million revamp which will double the department's number of clinic rooms, Mr Doherty was given a tour of the current facilities before launching the new brightly coloured duck-o-meter.
"I was delighted to be asked to unveil the Children's Department Appeal 'duck-o-meter' and meet some of the children and their parents," said Mr Doherty.
"I was shown round the department by members of the staff team and can see why it needs updating so urgently. The staff do a fantastic job so it was great to see first-hand what needs doing."
The planned improvements would also include increasing the total number of beds from 24 to 26, while also creating dedicated spaces for teenagers and more space in bays for specialist equipment.
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There would also be specially dedicated spaces for diabetes, cystic fibrosis and physiotherapy - as well as multiple play areas to make it a more welcoming environment for children.
The appeal has currently raised more than £230,000 since being launched in February 2018.
Hannah Page, children's unit sister at Ipswich Hospital, said: "It was fantastic to welcome Jimmy to the Children's Department and to be able to show him around the unit.
"Jimmy was really interested to hear how our patients needs have changed and how we plan to adapt the environment to best meet them.
"Everyone was very excited to meet Jimmy and he joined children in our garden planting flowers. We had some great discussions about the use of green spaces in our future plans and the positive physical and mental impact access to outdoors can have for children in hospital.
"It is lovely to be supported by Jimmy and the farm, especially as the theme for the redevelopment of the Children's Department will be the Suffolk countryside."
Caroline Bates, head of fundraising for Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity, said: "We were so pleased that Jimmy was able to come and visit the Children's Department."
To donate to the appeal, click here.