Two festive trees have gone up at North Walsham War Memorial Hospital as its Friends group prepares for Christmas.
The Friends, funded by public donations, provide extra treats for hospital staff and patients all year round. But at Christmas, and particularly during the ongoing Covid pandemic, it has been doing a little bit more.
It is the second year they have provided illuminated trees to stand outside the reception door, and on the patio outside the day room. This year’s trees were generously donated by grower David Sarsby of Banningham.
Chairman Keith Jarvis after installing one of the Christmas trees.
Friends will continue their tradition of preparing 30 goody bags of gifts for patients staying in the hospital over Christmas. But, unlike in normal years when Friends members tour the wards to hand them out, they will be delivered to the hospital for distribution by staff under Covid guidelines.
An annual visit by the Broadland Youth Choir to tour the wards and sing carols, which was also called off last year due to lockdown, is making a partial comeback on December 18 – with the young singers performing outdoors (weather permitting) from the patio, so patients can hear them in their beds.
Friends chairman Keith Jarvis said: “We have been restricted on what we can do, especially at Christmas, but we feel it is important to show patients and staff that people care for them, and recognise the tough job ward staff in particular have been doing for many months.”
The Friends have also been providing regular food and drink deliveries to bolster staff morale during Covid – and will be delivering staff hampers too over Christmas.
Despite the pandemic restricting what the Friends can do inside the hospital, they have been busy doing what they can to support the hospital in 2021 with some outdoor projects.
It has included providing tools, compost bins, bird feeders and new outdoor furniture towards improvements in the hospital garden, and funding a giant mural to replace a brick wall view from a ward window.
They are also starting a major tidy up of the hospital’s wild flower meadow, which will see the local Round Table helping providing the manpower to rip up and reinstate footpaths through it.
The Friends rely on public support to carry out their work – through donations, legacies, fundraising, and becoming a member. To find out more about the Friends and how to get involved visit