Hospices help children make most of Easter

Anthony Kunicka-Holda ands staff member Sharon Lee take part in Easter craft activities at Bluebell Wood Children's hospice near Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees
Anthony Kunicka-Holda ands staff member Sharon Lee take part in Easter craft activities at Bluebell Wood Children's hospice near Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees
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CHILDREN with life-shortening illnesses in Yorkshire are enjoying a special Easter at the region’s three specialist hospices.

Bluebell Wood in Sheffield, Martin House in Boston Spa and Forget Me Not in Huddersfield children’s hospices are helping young patients and their families create precious memories – and readers of The Yorkshire Post are being asked to support these vital services.

The Yorkshire Children’s Hospices Appeal, which is being backed by the newspaper and its sister publications across the region, is aiming to raise £30,000 over the next 12 months.

We’re asking readers to do their bit this Easter by donating the cost of a chocolate egg, or organising their own fundraising event.

Claire Rintoul, chief executive of Bluebell Wood, said on behalf of all three hospices: “We are really pleased with the tremendous support we have received from across Yorkshire so far. This will help us to all create special, wonderful and happy memories for families facing the toughest of times.

“This Easter, we will be providing plenty of fun things and specialist care for our children and their siblings, 24 hours a day. You can help by making a donation, fund-raising in your area or taking on a challenge.

“Whatever way you can help will make a huge positive difference to us.”

Although many of the children cared for by Bluebell Wood won’t be able to enjoy chocolate eggs owing to their medical conditions, the hospice is organising an array of special activities including making Easter baskets and bonnets, painting bunny faces, and treasure hunts in the garden.

“Arts and crafts and fun activities just like these are a form of therapy for some of our children, as it allows them to express their feelings through such activities whilst creating special memories,” Ms Rintoul added.

At Martin House, children and young people have been making cards for their families using fingerprints. Artist-in-residence Sarah Aspinall said: “We are running an decorating competition and the children staying with us are looking forward to using icing to decorate their eggs, being creative and getting messy.

“Hopefully all of the children and young people staying, their brothers and sisters and parents, will all have a relaxing but fun weekend here.”

Meanwhile, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield has arranged trips out for each day of the break, with two to 18-year-olds set to enjoy visits to Eureka in Halifax, the Rainbow Factory in Leeds, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Legoland discovery centre, Sheffield Ice Rink and the Sealife centre in Scarborough.

Since the appeal was launched last month, donations have arrived for the Yorkshire Children’s Hospices Appeal. So far almost £5,000 has been collected for the appeal, which is being supported by Johnston Press newspapers and websites across Yorkshire this year.

Among the supporters is Margaret Milne, from Wetherby, who has raised nearly £400 through coffee mornings and will be hosting another next month.

Her first event was affected by sudden snow, so she decided to organise another for those who could not make it. She said: “Those who came were very generous and we had lots of donations before and since. I appreciate what the hospices do and feel they do a great job.”

Every pound given can make a huge difference as every year the hospices need to raise more than £13m in total because only 10 per cent of their funding comes from the Government. The appeal will help the three hospices support the families of nearly 1,000 children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

Donate to the appeal via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/YCHAppeal

Alternatively, send a cheque, made payable to Yorkshire Children’s Hospices’ Appeal, to: Kayla Lindsay, Yorkshire Post, No 1 Leeds, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire; LS12 1BE. Please include your name and address with your cheque so we can claim Gift Aid for your donation.

Are you supporting the appeal? Tell us about what you’re doing via social media, using #YCHappeal

Email katie.baldwin@ypn.co.uk with details of your support. Log on to www.yorkshirepost.co.uk to download a fundraising pack.