GIVE A GIFT APPEAL: Here’s how to get involved

Staff and volunteers wrapping presents donated to the Give a Gift appeal at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.  Pictured are volunteers John Coulson, Sue Rooker and Megan Croft.
Staff and volunteers wrapping presents donated to the Give a Gift appeal at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Pictured are volunteers John Coulson, Sue Rooker and Megan Croft.

Hospital staff had their work cut out as they started to wrap the mountain of presents donated by Gazette readers as part of our Give a Gift campaign.

Almost 400 presents have been dropped off so far and are now ready to be delivered to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Christmas Day – but we still need more.

Staff and volunteers wrapping presents donated to the Give a Gift appeal at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.  Pictured is Ann Hedley from Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.

Staff and volunteers wrapping presents donated to the Give a Gift appeal at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Pictured is Ann Hedley from Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.

With Christmas Day edging ever closer – and another 313 presents required to ensure every patient at the Vic on December 25 has a gift to unwrap – more donations are urgently needed.

Staff and volunteers spent around four hours wrapping 387 presents yesterday but the appeal won’t be wrapping up just yet.

Ann Hedley, head of fundraising at Blue Skies, the hospital’s charity, said: “I’m pleased with how the appeal has gone so far – but I’m still panicking.

“We still need another 313 presents. We’ve got 136 ladies’ presents, 88 for men and 67 that are for both.

“So we’re looking for men’s gifts in particular but we still need both really.”

However there is one present the team have already wrapped plenty of.

“We wrapped 72 boxes of biscuits,” she added. “We don’t need any more biscuits!”

The Give a Gift appeal has made huge strides since last week, when The Gazette reported donations had topped 150. But with just under two weeks to go that appeal is only just past the halfway mark and still relying on the kindness of readers.

There is still more than a week to get your donations in and ensure every patient in hospital to have a present to open on Christmas morning.

To get involved, you just need to pick up an extra present while doing your Christmas shopping and take it unwrapped to one of the designated drop-off points. For more information, see the panel below.

How to get involved

It’s really as easy as picking up one extra present when you do your Christmas shopping. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A lot of places do ‘buy one get one free’ offers at Christmas time, so you might end up with something spare that somebody in hospital would really appreciate. Then just take the presents unwrapped to one of the designated drop-off points.

Confirmed drop-off points

• Blue Skies Hospital Fund, Blackpool Victoria Hospital

• Marks and Spencer, Blackpool Victoria Hospital

• Morrisons, Squires Gate Lane, Blackpool

• Booths, Teanlowe Centre, Poulton

• Poppy and Jacks Nursery, Breck Road, Poulton

• Smyths Toys, Vicarage Lane, Blackpool

• Asda, Cherry Tree Lane, Marton

What to buy

Sabila Johnson, Ward Manager of the Care for the Elderly ward at Blackpool Victoria, recommends toiletries, biscuits, games, books - the list is exhaustive. If in doubt, just ring the Blue Skies Hospital Fund on 01253 957903

What not to buy

There is strictly no alcohol allowed.

Dangerous items such as knives are also not permitted.

Sabila Johnson also added that socks are a bad idea, unless they have grip, due to older patients being at the risk of falls.

Boxes of chocolates may be a bad idea as a number of older patients suffer from diabetes.