My good elf is thanks for brother’s hospital care

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WONDERING what to wear over the Christmas season? Annabelle Sutherland has no worries - she is dressing up as an elf throughout December to raise money for The Children’s Hospital Charity.

Annabelle Sutherland, aged 22, of Dore, will be wearing her festive fancy dress to the supermarket, while out with friends, and even to work, to thank the hospital which saved her younger brother’s life.

Oliver, now 18, was just 14-months-old when he accidentally fell into a swimming pool and stopped breathing. He was rushed to the Children’s Hospital.

Annabelle said: “Oliver was put into a coma because his body and vital organs were being put under so much stress after swallowing a dangerous amount of water. One of his lungs had collapsed.

“The doctors and nurses had to watch him really closely because there was a high risk of brain damage. It was hard for them to give him the medicines he needed because his veins were so small. It was a really scary time for my family.”

Annabelle was just five at the time, but said: “I can remember so much even though I was so young. I remember the sound of the sirens as the ambulance arrived and visiting Oliver in the hospital and seeing all the tubes that were attached to his tiny body to keep him alive.”

After four days on a life support machine, Oliver’s condition improved, and he went on to make a full recovery.

Annabelle, who commutes from Sheffield to Manchester, decided on the unusual 25-day-fundraiser after her boss suggested she do something festive in the office during the run-up to Christmas.

“I studied drama at university so thought the idea of transforming into an elf would be really fun. It’s awkward sitting in traffic during rush hour dressed up as an elf but I laugh it off.

“I also have to go to a lot of meetings with clients for my job. They’re going to find it really hard to take me seriously, I’m sure.”

“Children have also been stopping me in the streets to pass on their wishes to Santa - that has been the most entertaining part so far!”

Money will go towards the charity’s Make it Better campaign to help finance the redevelopment of the hospital, including the addition of single en-suite rooms.

Annabelle has inspired friend, Natalie Ketteringham, aged 25, to enlist her work colleagues into becoming ‘guardian angels’ to support her fundraising. “We decided to dress up as angels because we work for a company called Guardian Electrical so it seemed really fitting,” said Natalie.

Annabelle added: “My little brother is not so little now, but what the hospital did for our family is still as fresh to us as it was all them years ago.

“The doctors and nurses saved his life. My brother would not be here today without them.

“I don’t mind looking silly if it means I can raise money for this wonderful hospital.”