Glittering festive lights are now shining out at Sheffield Children’s Hospital – with scores of patients, parents, staff and charity volunteers turning out to see the illuminations’ big switch-on.
The snowflake-shaped lights, an annual tradition, adorn the front of the hospital’s main building, each with a ‘gift tag’ attached displaying the name of a local sponsor.
And doing the honours on the night were some very special guests – patients Ebony Smith, aged four, and Isaac Evans, six, quiz show ace Mark Labbett, and children’s television character Rastamouse.
Mark, from Rotherham, is a regular on the British and American versions of ITV show The Chase, using his extensive general knowledge to outsmart teams of contestants vying to win thousands of pounds.
“I’ve heard a lot about the fantastic work of the children’s hospital, and I was delighted to be asked to switch on the Christmas lights,” said Mark.
Meanwhile, the Rastamouse show follows a mouse reggae band who split their time between making music and solving mysteries.
Hospital supporters who watched the switch-on were treated to carols, mince pies, hot chocolate and brass band music before stepping outside to see the lights for the first time this festive season.
Children’s hospital charity director David Vernon-Edwards said: “Each snowflake represents the children we see every day at the hospital, whether it’s Christmas or not. Every child is unique, like a snowflake.”
Simon Morritt, chief executive at the hospital, added: “The switching-on of the Christmas lights is always a very special event and I’d like to say thanks to everyone who supported it and made it such a great occasion.”