Rockinghorse lights up the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital

The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital was the setting for a magical light display last night,...

The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital was the setting for a magical light display last night, with local businesses, supporters and the community coming together to wish sick children a Merry Christmas.

In the run up to Christmas, we have been running our ‘Be a Rockinghorse Star’ campaign which is raising funds to make sure that no child visiting or staying in hospital this Christmas misses out on the festive fun. Last night, we created a magical light projection on the side of the children’s hospital to wish all the children and their families a very Merry Christmas and to thank the staff who are working this Christmas.

Lighting up the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital

Spending time in hospital over Christmas isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s even worse for children – not knowing if Father Christmas will know where to find them, not being able to enjoy Christmas at home with their family, not to mention being scared and worried about their treatment.

Donna Holland, CEO of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity explains why support is so vital: “Christmas is an especially busy time for the charity. This month we will support the families who already know they are going to be in hospital at Christmas. They’ve just got a diagnosis, or their child is already sick. They know that Christmas day will be spent on a ward, in a treatment room or having surgery.

We also support the families who don’t know they are going to be in hospital yet. Right now, they are planning for Christmas as normal, but sometime in the next few weeks something will happen that will completely change their plans. A cough that doesn’t go away, a temperate that keeps on rising or an accident waiting to happen.

At Rockinghorse, we support all children and their families. We do anything we can to help them feel more at home in hospital this Christmas.”

Every year Rockinghorse bring Christmas to children in hospital, delivering advent calendars and gifts to children in hospital, putting on Christmas parties and festive activities, bringing Santa, reindeer, donkeys and dogs to the hospitals, as well as delivering Christmas meals and hampers to families on Christmas day.

Dr Oli Rahman, Chair of Trustees at Rockinghorse and Paediatric Consultant at The Alex, describes the difference this makes to children and their families: “Each year we see increasing numbers of children and young adults coming to the Emergency Department at the Children’s Hospital. The last few weeks have been incredibly busy, and we have struggled to cope with the demand. We see worried parents concerned about their child’s symptoms, children with serious illnesses, babies struggling to breathe and feed and teenagers facing serious mental health issues.

“Christmas is a particularly difficult time for so many. The support that Rockinghorse gives to children and their families is vital, especially now as the NHS struggles to cope with the increased demand over winter. The toys bring joy and distraction from difficult and sometimes painful procedures, the festive activities ensure that the patients don’t miss out on fun and learning, and the meals and hampers ensure families can spend some time together no matter what is going on for them during this festive period”

Donna Holland, Gareth Woolven, Dr Oli Rahman and Marcella Whittingdale

Helping make Christmas happen

A range of local Sussex businesses have generously supported our ‘Be a Rockinghorse Star’ campaign including Rubix VT, a telecommunications company based in Sussex, who have supported the largest Super Star in the display.

Nick Poyner, Managing Director at Rubix VT said, “At Rubix VT, we are always keen to do what we can to support the wonderful work of the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity.

“It feels even more important at Christmas time. Christmas is a magical time of the year for children and Rockinghorse excels at making sure no-one feels left out. It is hard to be in hospital or suffering during the festive period, so the team at Rockinghorse do their best to bring the joy of the season.

“Children in hospital often worry if Father Christmas will find them. The people at Rockinghorse point Santa in the right direction! “How could we not support Rockinghorse?”

Other local businesses who have kindly supported the campaign include ILG, Mascol Events, County Business Clubs, Golden Lion Group, ABN Amro, Cloud 9 Insight, Creative Pod, Second Voice and Mattioli Woods.

Find out more about how you can support Rockinghorse this Christmas here.