Patients and staff at The Royal London Hospital were welcomed on Thursday 10 December 2015 by the jubilant sound of Christmas carols thanks to a visit by over forty children from the Devonshire House Preparatory School choir.
The festive visit, on behalf of The Sick Children’s Trust, first saw the choir group around a Christmas tree in the main foyer, from where they headed to serenade staff at lunch in the hospital restaurant.
The children, aged from eight to eleven, later enjoyed a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the hospital accompanied by the Barts Health associate director of estates and facilities, Kenny Hanlon. They particularly enjoyed seeing how blood and medicine is sent across the hospital in tubes on a ‘carousel’. The group also met with Chief Executive Alwen Williams, and Interim Chief Nurse Jan Stevens who commented on their enthusiasm and two infection control nurses gave a sing-along session on how to wash their hands.
Kenny explained: “The Tour was a fantastic opportunity to show these young children how such a large and complex hospital works very hard to ensure safe and compassionate care for the many unwell people we look after every day. I hope to have inspired them to become a nurse, doctor or perhaps to run a hospital one day!”
The Sick Children’s Trust was chosen by Devonshire House Preparatory school as its charity of the year. The charity runs Stevenson House on Ashfield Street, Tower Hamlets which has this year supported over 500 families to stay close to their children as they undergo treatment at the specialist children’s hospital at The Royal London.
The house offers free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation for families, with a comfortable bed, kitchen and living rooms and a quiet space, complete with direct telephone lines to hospital wards in all bedrooms. The house offers free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation for families, with a comfortable bed, kitchen and living rooms and a quiet space, complete with direct telephone lines to hospital wards in all bedrooms.
Assistant House Manager, Irma Cambron, at Stevenson House said: “It’s been a lovely day meeting the children of Devonshire House Preparatory School and we’re delighted that they could come and join us, meeting some of the families that we care for along with other patients in the hospital.
“They have brought a lot of joy and festive cheer with them and really made today special for our families, many of whom sadly will not be going home this Christmas and face a tough time ahead.
“Stevenson House is there for the families of sick children throughout all of the year, but at Christmas is it especially important. Being there for hundreds of families would not be possible without the continued support of the local community and the Devonshire House Preparatory School partnership. We’d like to say a huge thank you to The Royal London for having the choir in today and to all of our loyal supporters. Supporting families wouldn’t be possible without your generosity.”
Tatyana Niedinger, Head of Music, Devonshire House Preparatory School, said: “It was a great opportunity for us to show our support to those who might not be as fortunate we are at this festive time of the year. Children grow into adults and, one day, will have children of their own. Cultivating compassion, empathy and awareness of other people's problems is part of education and emotional and spiritual development. Today, the choir children had a very valuable opportunity to learn about the incredible work the charity is doing and visit one of the leading hospitals in the country. I am sure it will inspire them, in the future, to find ways to show special kindness and benevolence to those in need!”