Teenagers give up their beloved phones to help Hartlepool chemotherapy unit

National Citizenship Service member Frances Christie (front left) presents Rosie Livingston from the University Hospital of Hartlepool Chemotherapy unit with gifts and a cheque for �405 as fellow members look on along with (rear 2nd right) Tina Lavelle (national citizenship service) and Pauline Wallace (Chemotherapy Unit) look on. Picture by FRANK REID
National Citizenship Service member Frances Christie (front left) presents Rosie Livingston from the University Hospital of Hartlepool Chemotherapy unit with gifts and a cheque for �405 as fellow members look on along with (rear 2nd right) Tina Lavelle (national citizenship service) and Pauline Wallace (Chemotherapy Unit) look on. Picture by FRANK REID

Technology loving teenagers gave up their mobile phones to help raise money for Hartlepool hospital’s chemotherapy day unit.

A group of 14 school leavers raised hundreds of pounds to buy gifts to entertain patients while they undergo stressful cancer therapy.

National Citizenship Service members Ben Christie, Tristan Paddon and Chloe Broom with their mobile phones that they give up as part of their "give up a gadget" event. Picture by FRANK REID

National Citizenship Service members Ben Christie, Tristan Paddon and Chloe Broom with their mobile phones that they give up as part of their "give up a gadget" event. Picture by FRANK REID

They decided to help the unit at the Holdforth Road site as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS).

The East Durham youngsters all raised sponsorship when they gave up their beloved mobile phones.

They spent an afternoon playing board games and talked to each other at East Durham College.

This week, they presented a pile of gifts to the chemo day unit which is used by as many as 600 patients a month.

They included numerous fans, CD and DVD players, books, refreshments and a cheque for £400.

Matron Rosie Livingston said: “It will make a massive difference to patients, they will be able to listen to music and watch DVDs.

“The young people have obviously put a lot of thought into it.

“I think it’s absolutely brilliant that they have done it for the chemo unit.

“We really appreciate what they have gone out and done, and it does make a difference, as we do a lot of long treatments.”

The teenagers decided to help the unit after visiting it recently.

They also packed shoppers’ bags at B&M in Durham to help raise the money.

Tina Lavelle, NCS coordinator, said: “Some of the young people had members of their family who have used the unit so they had a personal connection and interest in it.

“They were over the moon with the gifts and really pleased with them.”

Four local groups celebrated the success on the scheme at a graduation event at East Durham College on Thursday night.

Each group talked about what they did to make a difference in their communities, and were presented with certificates signed by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Tina added: “It is an amazing, life-changing experience for young people. They have all just finished school and the NCS is an opportunity for them to get away and do something challenging.”

The National Citizen Scheme is open to young people aged 15 to 17 and enables them to make a difference while also learning skills for work and life.

Visit www.ncsyes.co.uk