POORLY youngsters were due to receive some Christmas cheer when this bumper haul of gifts was donated by kind-hearted residents.
Young patients at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary were set to receive a host of presents after Sharon Wood, 43, launched an appeal.
The mum-of-two never quite expected to see so many gifts after an astonishing 411 presents landed in her lap within four weeks.
Sharon and friends arranged for four car-loads of goodies to be transported up to the RVI, to be delivered by Father Christmas, otherwise known as Kevin Barker, who grows his beard every year and plays Santa to raise money for charity.
Sharon’s 10-year-old daughter Lucy suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and is one of the youngest people in the world to be prescribed tysabri, a medication specifically for adults to control the debilitating neurological condition.
Lucy is treated at the RVI’s ward 6 every four weeks and she heard Blackhall youngster Bradley Lowery, who is battling childhood cancer neuroblastoma, was also being treated in the same hospital.
The Mail reported in May that Lucy was sponsored to have her long hair cut off to raise money for the two-year-old.
Now Sharon, married to East Durham Homes estates manager Stuart, also an MS sufferer, and also mum to Katie, 16, has gone one step further by starting off a call for this bumper gift haul.
Sharon, of O’Neill Drive, Peterlee, said: “I had a brainwave just to collect presents for Bradley and his friends on his ward, but then it just snowballed – it went absolutely crazy, it was like Santa’s workshop in my living room.
“It went that crazy that we decided to give presents to all his ward, plus all of Lucy’s ward.”
Brothers and sisters of patients, and even their parents and hospital staff will even be treated, thanks to the generosity of residents and businesses.
“I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of everybody who has donated, it’s just fantastic,” added Sharon.
Among the gifts are a 5ft teddy for Bradley, donated by the Hawthorns Care Home, in Peterlee, and a present even travelled all the way from Brisbane in Australia, sent by former Horden woman Sharon Atherton.
Asda Peterlee also donated in excess of 50 gifts and local residents and businesses including hairdressers and Sure Start Children’s Centres were also among the gift-givers.