What a wonderful toy story for our hospital

A STAY in hospital has been made a lot easier for children in the Hartlepool and East Durham areas.

And that’s thanks to a group of women whose fundraising activities will hopefully help put a smile on the children’s faces.

 The children’s unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool has been given a £450 boost. It has come from the Autumn Club, which is an organisation for people aged over 50 which has been running for 14 years, and is flourishing with 80 members.

 The group meets in the Catholic Club in Marlowe Road to socialise, enjoy entertainment nights, play bingo, and go on day trips. It supports two charities a year in the town by holding raffles.

 This year, some of the money raised was spent on toys for children being looked after in the children’s unit.

 Spokesman Lilian Hughes, who is a founder member of the club, said the members wanted to say thank you and give something back to children who are being looked after.

She added: “Whenever we hold a raffle, our members immediately bring in something for it. This time, they came forward with 95 gifts. They are a really good crowd.”

 She said a young relative of fellow club member Linda Patrick had been looked after on the unit. A third club member Mary Lester came along for the presentation.

Lilian said the Autumn Club started off when people from the Lewis Grove area, and who had lost wives and husbands, were looking for somewhere where they could play bingo and other games.

She added: “We went to see the committee of the Catholic Club and they give us it straight away.” The Autumn Club meets each Wednesday from 12.30pm to 3pm in the Catholic Club. Staff nurse Lynne Scott thanked Autumn Club members for “such a generous gift”.

 “The toys will be really appreciated by the children we’re looking after here, which really help to distract the children who may be feeling worried when they come into hospital.” She described all of the members of the club as “fantastic” Lynne praised the Argos store in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre whose staff were described as “brilliant helping with the delivery of the 
toys”.

For more details on the Autumn Club, contact (01429) 551992.