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Children’s hospice charity sprinkles some Christmas magic for youngsters in Inverness

By Federica Stefani

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Reece Mitchell with Santa and his mum Donna Brown at CHAS Christmas party.
Reece Mitchell with Santa and his mum Donna Brown at CHAS Christmas party.

A charity for children suffering from life-shortening conditions brought some festive fun to families they support in the Inverness area with a Christmas party at Drummond school.

Nine families who are supported by Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) attended the event on last Saturday and took part in lots of fun Christmas themed games and face painting.

Party food was also on offer then children were treated to a very special visit from Santa Claus.

The party not only gave families a chance to have fun and meet others who are on a similar journey; it was also an opportunity to make precious memories with their beloved children.

Donna Brown from North Kessock whose son, Reece (10), is supported by the charity said: “It’s so important for Reece to be included at the parties; he currently doesn't go to school, so it’s nice to mix with other kids. It’s great to be able to feel comfortable with other families that are in the same situation.

“It’s been lovely to meet some of the new staff from the other hospices. It’s like being part of a big family.”

The charity launched its Christmas fundraising appeal last month after it witnessed a 25 per cent increase in specialist family support requests, on top of its nursing and medical care.

CHAS has recruited extra staff to help meet demand, including new specialist social workers and family support workers in Aberdeen and Inverness, plus a dedicated bereavement team to help grieving families in communities across Scotland. CHAS needs to raise over £12m in the coming year to enable the charity to continue to deliver hospice and palliative care for children.

To help raise awareness across Scotland about the important work CHAS does, the charity has also created a brand new TV advert in partnership with Scottish creative agency, ‘Leith’. The powerful ad depicts the heartbreak faced by families whose children die young and features a real-life CHAS nurse, Jane Carter, who works at Robin House.

A new radio advert is also being broadcast nationally in the run-up to Christmas to further raise the profile of the new CHAS appeal.

Iain McAndrew, director of income generation and engagement, fundraising and communications at CHAS, said: “The breadth of support we offer simply would not be possible without our generous supporters who give love and strength to those in the greatest need and we hope that this Christmas people will consider donating what they can to our festive appeal to help us ensure that no-one has to face the death of their child alone.”

You can donate to CHAS’ 2023 ‘Precious Memories Appeal’ at www.chas.org.uk/appeal.

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