Sheffield Children’s Hospital put the ‘fun’ in ‘fundraising’ as it celebrated its annual Make it Better Day in style.
The annual charity drive was marked all over South Yorkshire and beyond yesterday as everyone dug deep to raise cash for the hospital’s new wing.
In the hospital itself, the young patients, staff and parents united for a special day full of games, decorations, fancy dress and fun.
Some 15 wards got involved in the day’s activities, with many going all out to deck out the corridors and rooms with colourful decorations and artwork created by the youngsters.
The Paediatric Critical Care Unit, which takes care of some of the hospital’s sickest children, hosted a beach party, with doctors, nurses and staff donning grass skirts, flower garlands, sailor hats and sunglasses.
Donna Roberts, a play specialist in the PCCU, said: “All the children have helped us to do the beach artwork.
“We have a lot of poorly children here and a lot of them are lying in beds but I’ve had them finger painting and they have loved it.
“One of our patients has been here for months and months and has been in bed for ages, not wanting to get up. But for this she has come out in her chair and played hook-a-duck.
“All the staff are in Hawaiian shirts, they’re all getting into the spirit of things.”
Over in the Neonatal Surgical Unit, there was a baby theme with activities such as ‘guess how many Jelly Babies in the jar’, ‘guess the member of staff by their baby photo’ and a baby-themed cake bake.
Parents Stuart and Maxine Chambers, who are in the ward with their four-week-old son, Keiran, said it was a ‘brilliant’ atmosphere for Make it Better Day.
Stuart said: “Keiran has been improving every day and he’s having really good care.
“The staff here couldn’t do half of what they do without the fundraising work that goes on.
“We found out the nurses here buy lots of the colourful sheets for the beds just to make it a bit nicer for the kids. That’s just brilliant.”
In the outpatients ward, there was a pyjama party with a giant game of pass the parcel between parents, doctors, children and other staff.
Play specialist Donna Webster-Payne said: “It raises awareness for the patients and reminds the staff of why we do what we do.
“Sometimes it’s easy to come to work and not realise why we’re doing it, it just brings us all together as a team.”
Other wards and departments got involved with such themes as ‘non-uniform day’, a Hawaiian party, a ‘Positive Vibes festival’ – complete with festival-style portaloo – and a pirate party.
Last year’s Make it Better Day raised some £60,000 and it’s hoped everyone will pull together to smash that amount this year.
Former patients, schools, nurseries and parents were among other supporters in the community doing everything from ferret roulette to baked bean baths in exchange for charity cash.
David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We have seen a vast array of unusual fundraising ideas this year, with more people signed up to take part than ever before.
“We urgently need funds to help bring world-class facilities to our hospital, Yorkshire’s only standalone children’s hospital.”
Work started on the redevelopment last year and is expected to last until summer 2016. The new wing will include a spacious new outpatients department, three new wards complete with mostly private en suite rooms, a giant play tower and an outdoor courtyard.
MAKE IT BATTER DAY
The Star’s Chip Shop of the Year 2015 was the ‘plaice’ to be yesterday as it celebrated Make it Better Day.
Dykes Shoal Chippy’s ‘Make it Batter Day’ raised cash for the cause through sales of chip butties and fishcake butties.
Jo Ashton-Mosley, who runs the popular Hillsborough chippy with husband Steve, said: “Supporting The Children’s Hospital Charity is a no brainer for us.
“We are true Sheffielders, and everyone we know has at some point had to use The Children’s Hospital.
“We just wanted to do our bit, and as our customers are so generous we hope to raise as much as we can.”
Emma Dove, corporate fundraiser at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We are so pleased to have Dykes Shoal Chippy on board with their very own Make it Batter Day.
“They are well known for their amazing food and service, and now they are supporting our children too, by helping build a state-of-the-art wing at our amazing hospital.”
Jo and Steve said they had been ‘frying high’ after winning The Star’s hotly contested accolade in April.
Jo said: “It has been amazing – we have seen at least a 30 or 40 per cent increase in footfall since we won.
“The magic words seem to be ‘beef dripping’. People just love that we do things the old fashioned way.”