Special delivery! Poorly children get a present surprise

PRESENTS Front, Grace Marshall, Pam's daughter. From left, family friend Tina Porter, Adam Westbrook, Hannah's brother, Pam Marshall, husband Colin Marshall, and Jane Buchanan, events co-ordinator of the Piam Brown ward.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (114256-4)
PRESENTS Front, Grace Marshall, Pam's daughter. From left, family friend Tina Porter, Adam Westbrook, Hannah's brother, Pam Marshall, husband Colin Marshall, and Jane Buchanan, events co-ordinator of the Piam Brown ward. Picture: Paul Jacobs (114256-4)
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LADEN down with presents, Pam Marshall retraced the steps she had taken eight years earlier with her late daughter Hannah.

The 10-year-old was treated for cancer by the staff at the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton General Hospital.

REMEMBERED Hannah

REMEMBERED Hannah

Sadly, Hannah lost her battle with Hodgkin’s disease in 2004 but every Christmas her mum, from Horndean, collects hundreds of presents to give out to children receiving treatment for a wide range of serious illnesses at the ward.

This year family and friends donated more than 300 to the youngsters who will be in and out of the ward over the Christmas period, just as Hannah was.

Pam was joined by her son Adam, daughter Grace, husband Colin and friend Tina Porter who helped carry the car loads of presents.

She said: ‘Our aim was to add a little bit of sparkle to what is obviously a very traumatic time for the children.

‘Sadly we were not able to go on to the ward as some of the children were very poorly indeed and couldn’t be in contact with members of the public.

‘But we managed to unload all the presents eventually – it took a long time as there were so many!

‘They are being given out over the weeks as a lot of children are in and out having chemo and different sorts of treatments. So when they do come in it’s a lovely surprise.

‘We didn’t want to leave their siblings out because it’s hard on them too at this time of year, they miss out just as much. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you have cheered someone up.’

Jane Buchanan, charity fund manager and event co-ordinator of the Piam Brown ward, said: ‘It was absolutely fabulous as always.

‘Pam arrived with her delightful family laden down with presents in more bags than I have ever seen come out of two cars before.

‘We brought them all up to the ward and I was completely overwhelmed by everybody’s kindness and generosity. I can hardly put into words what it means to the children, their parents and their brothers and sisters, because it’s a family occasion. They are so touched that someone has thought about them.’

Pam runs the charity Hannah’s Holiday Home which she set up in memory of her daughter. The charity provides holidays at a New Forest holiday home for the families of children who are seriously ill.

From next March there will also be a home on Hayling Island. Pam said: ‘I wrote a Christmas card to every one of the children on the ward and they didn’t just get a present, they also got a week’s holiday.’

Donations for the holiday homes are always needed. If you would like to donate you can do so by going to hannahsappeal.org.