QA Hospital thanks ‘amazing’ community after more than 2,000 Christmas presents were donated to patients​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

THE heartwarming actions of countless people across the community have been recognised as a hospital thanked all those who launched appeals to bring in more than 2,000 presents for patients.

Friday, 28th December 2018, 2:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 2:33 pm
Acts of Kindness Community (Solent) and other community members donated presents and handmade cards to patients on the older persons' ward at QA Hospital

Staff, volunteers, former patients, businesses and groups of people in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas all worked together to make sure people staying at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham over Christmas received gifts.

Some appeals were launched by hospital staff and some by residents simply wanting to make a difference. Drives were even launched for others in the community, such as the homeless, through the hospital.

Mark Cubbon, the chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, which runs QA, said he has never seen community support like this in any organisation he’s worked in.

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Staff and volunteers from the hospital's rheumatology department collected, donated and wrapped gifts for the homeless, and patients of theirs in need

‘The kindness and generosity of the community is amazing,’ he said. ‘A little kid about five or six came in with a wheelbarrow of chocolates for staff who were working on Christmas Eve – we’ve seen some really amazing acts of kindness.

‘There’s lots of thanks to give to different people, not just our staff but also our community.

‘I say this all the time but there is so much generosity from our community that I’ve never seen in other any other organisation I’ve worked in.

‘You always find people want to make a contribution but here the support is incredible and to get more than 2,000 gifts donated is fantastic.’

Sandy and daughter Shannen Dewis collected presents as part of their annual appeal. Sandy is a sister on the orthopaedics ward and delivered presents to the D4 ward

Dozens of choirs and bands visited the hospital’s atrium and wards to perform carols.

Park Community School pupils made Christmas cards for patients. Peter Young and his wife, of Sly Fox Catering in Leigh Park, delivered hampers and goodies to A&E staff on Christmas Day to thank them for all their hard work

Sandy Dewis, 55, and her daughter Shannen, 26, from Stubbington, collected almost 300 presents for hospital patients.

Sandy is a senior sister on D4, the orthopaedic trauma ward, and said: ‘I’ve worked over Christmas many times and you find kids and older people always get presents.

Lucy Heard and Liz Yaxley

‘So three years ago me and my daughter decided to start a Christmas appeal so our patients got presents too.

‘No-one wants to be in hospital, especially over Christmas, and we thought this would help them.

‘We try and make the presents last all year so we re-wrap the ones left as say birthday presents. It brightens up their days and we want to thanks everyone who donated.

Shannen, who works at law firm Knight Polson, used the money raised through the firm’s charity raffle to buy presents.

Sister Sandy Dewis, far right, collected almost 300 presents for patients on the orthopaedic trauma ward. She handed them out to patients with colleagues

Colin Beevor, matron and service manager for the hospital’s rheumatology department, worked with fellow staff and volunteers to collect 200 presents for the homeless including essential items and parcels of food.

‘We donated to Portsmouth Day Service for the Homeless,’ he said. ‘We’ve got patients under our care who are homeless, and when you’re homeless and you have painful and tender joints the last thing you need is to be cold and not have good nutrition.

‘So we felt it was time to reach out and do something.

‘Presents came from staff, people in the community and patients, we were overwhelmed by the response.’

Colleagues in E-Level Recovery donated more than 100 gifts for older patients who spent Christmas in hospital