Youngster Willow brings festive cheer to James Paget Hospital’s children’s ward

Toys presented to JPH

Toys presented to JPH - Credit: Archant

Christmas arrived early at the children’s and young person’s ward at the James Paget University Hospital thanks to the hard work and generosity of local fundraising initiative Willow’s Journey.

Willow is five years old and suffers from gastroparesis. She and her family have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of hidden illness and to support local causes through charity events. As a regular patient at the JPUH, Willow chose the children’s ward as her fundraising appeal of the year in the hopes of replacing old and worn toys for other children to play with.

Willow and her family visited Ward 10 on Thursday last week to deliver a huge trolley of gifts to entertain and distract young patients; including two iPads, a 3ft snooker table, a playhouse, a robot, Barbies, light sabres and board games.

Funding for the toys was raised throughout the year via a Casino Night, Princess Night and Pantomime all arranged by Willow’s family.

A cheque for £900 was also presented on behalf of Simpsons Skoda in Great Yarmouth which chose Willow’s Journey as their charity of 2014. The impressive amount was raised through events such as a Golf Day and Annual Open Day.

Willow’s mother Leeanne said: “Willow has spent most of her life visiting the JPUH or Great Ormond Street Hospital. She decided the toys needed upgrading and told us exactly what she thought the department needed.

“She just wants other children to benefit from her experience and find enjoyment through play, as that’s what helps them to get well again.”

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Play specialist Zoe Parton said: “We are so grateful to Willow and her family for the time and effort taken to fundraise for the ward. Play is an important part of the hospital experience for our young patients because it helps to calm and distract them from feeling poorly.

“We would also like to thank Simpsons Skoda for their donation, which will be used towards a number of projects including the sensory unit we are hoping to purchase for Ward 10.”