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Christmas decorations brighten John Hunter Children's Hospital

We showed our thanks to John Hunter Children’s Hospital by volunteering to decorate its wards.

Friday, 15 December, 2017.

John Hunter Children’s Hospital is a special place for thousands of families, including many connected to Newcastle Permanent as customers or employees. 

That was evident as a team of our staff members volunteered recently to brighten the hospital with Christmas decorations. 

Rebecca Harris, from our Product Management team, spent the morning with colleagues decorating the H1 Ward where her three-year-old niece Abigail was receiving treatment. 

"The children’s hospital is an organisation that is close to my heart," she said. "I don’t think words can truly describe how the experience made me feel. Seeing the delight on the children’s faces as they watched the wards transform was uplifting. 

"My niece, Abigail, was ecstatic when she saw what we were doing. Knowing that this small act brightened her day and filled her heart with joy, love and excitement means the world to me."

Rebecca’s sister Nicole praised the hospital’s staff and level of care, and said the Christmas decorations had made staff and children smile.

"The hospital has been great, and all of the staff members have supported us through every step of Abigail’s journey," she said. "The decorations have a huge effect for the children who spend the Christmas period in hospital. Abigail saw the decorations and it brought so much joy, not only to her but also to the staff as they saw her excitement."

Abigail, a young girl being treated in hospital, smiles for the camera.
Abigail is a patient at the Children's Hospital.

SANDRA STONE, NURSING UNIT MANAGER

We've had some great volunteers here today from the Newcastle permanent putting up these marvellous Christmas decorations. 

They come in today and put up some lights and some lovely decorations just to brighten up the ward ready for Christmas.

They love it. actually. A lot of our patients are here for long term so, it actually brings a bit of home to the hospital and it brightens up their day and the kids just love the Christmas trees and the lights and, yeah, it's just marvelous. 

It puts a big smile on their faces and they get a lot of joy from it, they think it's great because the staff usually do it because it means such a lot to the families and the children but they do it often in breaks when they get time or in their own time, so this is great. 

It's really helped out greatly and they love it.

Senior Product Manager David Brown also volunteered to decorate the wards.

"My emotions were mixed," he said. "Seeing kids suffering is always tough but I was excited to brighten the ward and bring some Christmas cheer to the kids. I knew what we were doing was bringing happiness when one of the young boys looked up at the Christmas lights from his hospital bed with a big smile on his face and said ‘look at the pretty stars’."

Michael Quartly, who works in our IT Team, had to take his 17-month-old daughter Willow to the hospital for treatment as the decorations were going up.      

"Willow loved the Christmas decorations," he said, "I had a hard time keeping her away from the wrapping paper on the reception desk."

Mr Quartly said he was glad to work for an organisation that put resources in to community work like volunteering at the hospital. 

"I think that it’s a very worthwhile endeavour, adding the extra cheer in the children’s hospital," he said.  

"It really helps little kids to see colour and happiness around them when they are sick. The community involvement is one of the things that first attracted me to working at Newcastle Permanent." 

Sandra Stone, a Paediatric Nursing Unit Manager, said hospital staff members decorated the wards each year but this was the first time volunteers had come in to do it.  

"A lot of our patients are here for long-term so it actually brings a bit of home to the hospital and brightens up their day," she said.

"The staff usually decorates because it means such a lot for the families but they usually do it in breaks or after work, so the volunteers have helped them out greatly."

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