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Santa swaps sleigh for cherry-picker as he visits children's hospital

Youngsters were given a surprise visit at Leeds Children's Hospital.

Santa Claus swapped his sleigh for a cherry-picker on Monday as he carried out a series of Covid-safe visits to young patients on the wards of a children’s hospital.

Children on the inpatient wards at Leeds Children’s Hospital watched as Father Christmas was transported to the windows of all four floors of the building on the special vehicle.

Staff at the hospital said the visit would “bring lots of smiles to those brave little faces” of the children, many of whom will be in hospital over Christmas.

Coronavirus – Mon Dec 21, 2020
Santa Claus on a cherry picker outside Leeds Children’s Hospital in Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

The hospital teamed up with the BAM Construction company to arrange the special event after Covid-19 meant that access was restricted to the wards of the hospital.

Laura Whelan, deputy head of nursing at the hospital, said: “Being in hospital at Christmas is hard for our young patients, but our team pulls out all the stops to make it as fun as possible.

“This year, we’ve had to think really creatively about how we can keep the Christmas magic alive and, with the help of our charities and supporters, we have had some fantastic virtual activities for patients to get involved in.

Coronavirus – Mon Dec 21, 2020
Santa Claus speaks to Darcie Jones, aged eight, as he visits patients at Leeds Children’s Hospital (Danny Lawson/PA)

“Having Santa visit from the outside really is the icing on the cake and will bring lots of smiles to these brave little faces.

“We can’t thank BAM Construction enough for their help.”

Last December, the children’s hospital, which is one of the largest in the country and provides specialist care for children from across the north of England, saw 6,927 children and young people as outpatients, with nearly 2,000 having a day case procedure or inpatient stay.

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