As we reach the end of the traditional 12 days of Christmas – what a wonderful Christmas time it has been at our two hospices, Christopher’s in Guildford and Shooting Star House in Hampton.
Having a child with a life-limiting condition can often mean that experiences and trips families traditionally take part in over the festive season, just aren’t possible. So throughout December, thanks to our wonderful care team, volunteers and supporters, we’ve been able to give supported families a chance to come together and enjoy everything the festive season has to offer – creating some very special moments and happy memories.
Our hospices have welcomed a wealth of fabulous visitors, with super sensory Panto performances from Starlight Pantomime and Christmas for Kids, giving families some interactive fun and laughter.
The was no Wey to stop the smiles from the children as Wey Valley Motorcycle club vroomed into the car park to drop off their toy donations and give children a chance to enjoy their Christmas inspired bikes and costumes.
There were scores of fun as players from Fulham Football Club visited Shooting Star House and players from AFC Wimbledon, with long term supporters Paul and Irene Strank and EastEnder’s Danny-Boy Hatchard visited Christopher’s, to meet the children and families and see if their skills on the pitch could be transferred to Christmas craft skills as they decorating advent calendars, baubles and mini Christmas trees with the families.
Both hospices held Christmas parties chock full of festive fun, where Father Christmas and his wonderful helpers took some time out of their busy schedule to meet supported children and their siblings, finding out what they were hoping for Christmas, pose for a photo and of course give out some presents ahead of the big day!
There was music, dancing, presents and yummy treats to ensure families had the best of times – with the Harlequins Rugby Club ‘try’ing to show off their best dance moves too!
There was more music in store just before Christmas when Simon’s Brass Quintet filled Christopher’s with beautiful sounds as they performed some classic Christmas carols, which the families could sing along too of course!
The fun didn’t just take place at the hospices, with some very magical trips taking place. Supported families had a skate time at Hampton Court Palace as they enjoyed some exclusive time on the ice rink in the beautiful setting of the palace; a visit to Father Christmas’ reindeers meant they enjoyed an extra carrot or two from the children and there was a magical grotto experience for families when they visited the wonderful Woodlarks. Some families also got to have a very special treat at the Royal Lancaster for a Christmas Afternoon Tea.
For those families that stayed at our hospice over the Christmas period, much merriment was had. There was carol singing on Christmas Eve before Father Christmas ditched his trademark sleigh and visited the families on a fire engine on Christmas Day. He was accompanied by some fabulous Surrey fire fighters who showed the families around the fire engine too. After a delicious Christmas Dinner, the families spent the evening in the cinema room enjoying a festive film and a chance to chill out and relax. The gloomy weather didn’t dampen spirits on Boxing Day as Christopher’s car park was lit up with lights – not the traditional fairy lights but from police cars as Surrey Police paid a visit.
Several police cars arrived with some friendly police dogs that couldn’t wait to meet the families and say hello. There was even a chance for a spin in the cars complete with sirens and lights! In the afternoon super supporter Graham Russ grabbed his guitar, donned his Christmas hat and came in to see the families for a sensational sing song.
A huge thank you must go to everyone who made all the events possible, took the time to kindly donate gifts and presents, visit our hospices and welcome our families to their events. This support has helped to make Christmas magical for families supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.