Snowflakes to adorn Gloucestershire hospital to support NHS staff working this Christmas

Beautiful snowflakes filled with messages in memory of loved ones and in support of NHS staff will be hung at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

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People can leave a personal message online to remember a loved one, say thank you for the care received or even share a wish for the future. Every message will then be handwritten on to a decoration to be displayed for staff and patients during the festive season.

For a suggested donation of £10, a stunning snowflake Christmas ornament can also be posted out to hang on your Christmas tree with funds going to the Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity’s CT Scanner Appeal. To make a contribution, please visit our donation page.

Nicky Smith will be hanging a snowflake in her memory of her mum Ann Dobbs. The 78-year-old grandmother of two, from Whitecroft in the Forest of Dean, died from COVID at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on November 3rd, 2020.

“Mum was admitted to hospital just a couple of days after she tested positive,” Nicky said.

“We were not able to see her, but the staff were amazing and when they knew she didn’t have long left, they made sure we were able to speak to her and given the chance to tell her how much we all loved and cared for her.

“Losing Mum so near to Christmas was just awful last year, we just had to get through it. This year with restrictions eased, we’ll be raising a glass to her.”

The 54-year-old business owner from Bream said the snowflakes were a great way to remember loved ones and support the NHS.

“I just admire everyone in the NHS for everything they do, particularly during the pandemic and now again with the pressures they are facing this winter. For people that work 9-5 days, it is hard to imagine what it must be like facing working over Christmas and so it is great to be able to do something to say thank you to them,” Nicky said.

When you order your snowflake, you can choose to donate money to the CT Scanner Appeal or for a particular ward. The charity needs to raise £600,000 to buy new state-of-the-art CT Gamma Scanner technology to enable patients to have two specialist scans at the same time. It could help more than 4,000 patients every year in the county including seriously ill children, people with cancer and those with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s.

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The Gloucestershire Oncology Centre is among the many areas of the hospitals where staff will be working over Christmas.

Julie McNally, Senior Sister said: “People might not think it, but there’s a lovely atmosphere in the cancer wards over Christmas. The staff make it really nice and fun for patients, we know it’s not where they want to be at that time of year, but in an unexpected way it can become such a memorable day for them.

“There’s a Christmas dinner provided for staff and patients, and although things need to work differently during the pandemic, we usually manage some special things such as decorations around the wards and festive snacks for patients.

“The Christmas snowflakes are such a wonderful way of adding to that atmosphere and raising funds for such a worthwhile technology which can help our patients – we’ll have a tree here and we’re looking forward to seeing the messages.”

“You get used to Christmas working differently when you work in nursing, the Christmas dinner with the family might take place on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day, but that doesn’t matter because really you just want to do all you can for patients.”

Earlier this year, thousands of pounds were raised through the Commemorative Dandelion Appeal to build two gardens at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General. Hundreds of dandelion sculptures were donated in memory of loved ones and to say thank you to the NHS for their work during the pandemic.

Senior Fundraiser Karen Organ said: “Our snowflake design is in keeping with our Dandelion Appeal and it is a winter symbol for every person is unique and glitters even during the coldest days.

“Just like with our dandelion appeal, we hope these beautiful decorations will provide comfort to those who may be facing the festive season without a loved one. The heartfelt messages in the hospital will also help support our amazing NHS staff who will be working around the clock this Christmas.”

If you would like to make a contribution this Christmas and leave a message of thanks and/or order your ornament decoration, please visit our donation page.

To just leave a message of thanks, please visit our contact page.

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