SURROUNDED by hundreds of presents destined for poorly children, Pam Marshall could hardly believe the generosity of her family and friends.
Seven years before, it was her little girl, Hannah Westbrook, who had received a Christmas present from a total stranger while she was being treated for cancer on the Piam Brown ward of Southampton General Hospital.
She was bowled over by the gift and vowed that the following Christmas she would gather presents together to give to other children on the ward.
Sadly, Hannah, pictured above, died before she could carry out that wish, at the age of just 10.
But it is a tradition her mum Pam and brother Adam, 16, have continued, bringing joy to children in the hospital Hannah was once in.
The presents giving scheme is known as the Giving Tree.
Pam, from Horndean, said: ‘We are just so overwhelmed by the generosity of all our wonderful friends and family.
‘It’s amazing to be able to put the smiles back on the children’s faces It’s priceless. I still have the present Hannah was given. It was a mug with her name on it and some pens, a real funky present.She talked about it to everybody that Christmas. She was amazed that people could be so generous.
‘It’s lovely to be able to carry this on in her memory.
‘Since we began it’s just grown and grown. So many people want to get involved, including the staff at my doctors’ surgery and even the Halifax in Waterlooville.’
The givers have a name, address and sex of a child to buy for and around 300 presents were donated.
There are 90 new children on the list of those to buy for this year.
Pam said: ‘We give to the newly- diagnosed ones first because it’s a very scary time for them.
‘Any presents we have left over we give to their brothers and sisters who come and visit.
‘Going back there is emotional because it brings it all back and you can imagine what the new families are going through.
‘When you see a little girl sitting there with no hair it does take you back. But we tend to go in there, give out the presents, put a smile on their faces and deal with it when we get home.’
Hannah was just eight when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. She bravely endured intense chemotherapy, stem cell treatment and radiotherapy but passed away in September 2004.
In her memory her family bought a holiday home in the New Forest for families of children who are ill to spend time together and relax. They have recently bought a second holiday home in Hayling Island.
To donate go to hannahsappeal.org.