Disaster averted to put smiles on faces at Queen Alexandra Hospital's Christmas Market

THE windy weather did not stop the smiles on faces at Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Christmas Market.

Saturday, 7th December 2019, 1:03 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th December 2019, 5:06 pm

Strong gusts nearly derailed the seasonal fun with volunteers struggling to put up huts in the car park outside the hospital on Friday afternoon.

But with Christmas helpers all pulling together, they were still able to bring festive cheer after putting the market up in the hospital entrance and atrium instead.

It meant hundreds of people were able to enjoy the spectacular market, put on by the children’s department, over Friday and Saturday.

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(l to r), Paige Garton and Meseret Hamilton both eight. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (071219-2)

There were festive stalls to entertain the whole family, Christmas-themed wooden huts, arts, crafts and delicious seasonal food.

Children were treated to a gift and picture with Father Christmas in his grotto, who also made a special visit to the children’s ward.

Hot food and refreshments, choir music, alpacas and donkey rides, meant there was no chance of boredom at the fun-filled event which lifted the spirits of those at the hospital.

Kate Blake, an advanced clinical practitioner who sits on the fundraising committee, said: ‘We had a disaster with the weather on Friday with the strong winds. We were not able to erect the huts because of the conditions.

(l to r), Faith Moore, with Chris Stoneham and his daughter Alice (three) with Steph Hallas. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (071219-3)

‘But despite the crisis we managed to still get the market up and running and turn it into a success. The scouts were incredible in helping us.

‘The market looked spectacular and there was massive footfall with hundreds of people turning up on both days.

‘Everyone’s enjoyed all the entertainment whether it is going on the donkeys or alpacas, enjoying the choirs and arts and crafts.’

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Santa meets Evie Gower (five),and her brother Alfie (four). Picture: Ian Hargreaves (071219-1)

Volunteer Dominic Blake added: ‘No one wants to be hospital especially at this time of year but the market put smiles on people’s faces.

‘There were people from wards or in wheelchairs who came down to enjoy the event. Peter Linton, dressed as Father Christmas, did a great job with the children who enjoyed seeing him. Charlotte Taylor, dressed as Mary Christmas, was fantastic too.’

It is hoped £3,000 will be raised for the Children’s Bubbles Fund in aid of Portsmouth Hospitals Charity which helps to enhance the hospital stay for patients receiving treatment in the children’s department.

(l to r), Laura Gadd and Wendy Crawford. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (071219-4)