Officers from Bedfordshire’s Community Cohesion team have spent Christmas Eve delivering presents to courageous children who are spending the festive break in hospital.
Officers greeted poorly youngsters at Bedford Hospital with gifts, while other members of the team visited Luton Hospital’s children’s ward with PCSOs Daniel McHugh and Liam Hill.
Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway also visited Cygnet Wing at Bedford Hospital while Superintendent David Boyle took part in the visit to children at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. The teams spoke to children in the wards, handing out gifts which included toy teddies and penguins, plus colouring and puzzle books and colouring kits.
The tens of presents were bought as a result of a series of fundraising initiatives by the Cohesion team, whose role is to engage with communities across Bedfordshire and encourage unity in the county, and by the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner who held a bake sale and a giant teddy bear raffle to raise funds. Staff from Healthwatch Bedford also baked and supplied cakes to the youngsters on the wards while Mary Seacole Housing Association also donated to the cause.
Commissioner Holloway said: “The patients and their parents were really appreciative of the gesture from Bedfordshire Police’s Community Cohesion Team and my own office and we had enough gifts to leave a supply for those who are unlucky enough to find themselves admitted to hospital over the next few days.
“There were some very poorly children on the ward as we were told the hospital does everything it can to allow children home for Christmas Day but, even so, the gift bags genuinely put a smile on the patients’ faces - and ours as well when we saw their reactions!”
Chief Inspector Hoque, who helped organise the visits, said: “As police officers we often spend the Christmas period working hard to protect people and keep Bedfordshire safe, but it is an important time for families to come together. This is why we wanted to spare some time visiting children who are too unwell to be at home to see the presents Father Christmas would usually leave for them under the tree – we thought we would bring some extra gifts to put a smile on their faces as they bravely soldier on in hospital.
“On behalf of the Community Cohesion team and Bedfordshire Police, we thank all those who donated to our various fundraisers in order to spread a little Christmas cheer to those less fortunate than ourselves. We wish all of the communities of Bedfordshire a happy festive season and look forward to a new year of unity and togetherness in our county.”