DCSIMG

Christmas gifts will bring smile to sick children

Pam Marshall and her daughter Grace (5) surrounded by presents for their 'Giving Tree for Christmas' charity and, inset, .

Hannah Westbrook pictured in June 2004, aged 10

Pam Marshall and her daughter Grace (5) surrounded by presents for their 'Giving Tree for Christmas' charity and, inset, . Hannah Westbrook pictured in June 2004, aged 10

A MOUNTAIN of presents is ready to be delivered to children diagnosed with cancer.

Around 300 beautifully-wrapped gifts are piled high in the lounge of mum-of-two Pam Marshall, who runs a Giving Tree for the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton General Hospital.

The 43-year-old, from Horndean, organises the wonderful gesture every year for children in the cancer unit, which treated her late daughter.

Hannah, who lost her battle with Hodgkin’s disease in 2004 at the age of 10, received a present from a stranger in a similar scheme at Christmas in 2003.

Pam explained: ‘Hannah said “Next year can we do it?”

‘Sadly she never made the following Christmas, but it’s something we have done every year since. It’s just grown and grown.’

The presents are all bought by Pam’s friends, family and local businesses.

A total of 109 children – aged from babies to teenagers – are each assigned a few presents each.

Pam said: ‘We have nearly 300 presents, all different shapes and sizes and colours. There’s heavy ones, rattly ones, squidgy ones – you name it, we’ve got it!

‘It’s like Santa’s grotto. My doorbell has not stopped with people delivering them.’

Each present includes an invitation to a free holiday at Hannah’s Holiday Home.

In memory of Hannah, who would have been 18 this year, Pam organises getaways for families at luxury holiday homes in the New Forest and Hayling.

Later this week she will deliver the presents to the ward.

She added: ‘Most of the children have been newly diagnosed.

‘They and their families have had a scary, bleak time and if we can bring a bit of sunshine and put a smile on their face, it’s all worth it.

‘The parents don’t really have time to stop with the stress of knowing their child has cancer.

‘If we can offer them a lift, to know that a stranger is thinking of them, that’s a great gift.’

 

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