Local man and volunteer Frank Charles BEM made his annual Christmas toy delivery to children on the Acorn ward at Whipps Cross Hospital on Tuesday 21 December.
Frank has been visiting the hospital for 18 years in a row and not even Covid-19 has stopped him for bringing joy to children at the hospital and excitement to the whole ward.
Frank's donations come from the gift appeal of his local charity plus donations from local residents who know Frank and want to support his cause.
Having established the Frank Charles Give A Gift Appeal in 2004, Frank is dedicated to brightening the hospital experience for children. He was inspired by his first son Ashley, who passed away at 23-months from a rare bowel disorder, Hirschsprung’s Disease.
"I do this in memory of my son so when I bring the presents to the hospital I always think of my him because he passed away around this time.
I also remember being in hospital as a young child and realising how sad I was not being at home, so to think about chidlren who are in hospital at this time of year it’s to bring a bit of hope and joy for them, to see them smile and for their parents to see that other people care about them as well."
The gifts Frank bring means that every child on Acorn Ward will get an extra special present this Christmas.
"I wrapped up all of them last weekend and got all sorts of gifts from play-doo and remote control cars to cuddle toys", said Frank.
Christine Fogarty, matron at Acorn Ward, said:
"Getting a toy while children are at the hospital around Christmas, it’s really special and the nurses also love it.
It’s a real treat, a real Christmas joy for everyone and children shouldn’t miss out because they are here.
Frank's Christmas delivery lifts everyone’s spirits and it’s a nice distraction, and it helps us generate anticipation on Christmas eve and Christmas Day.
If we didn’t have this kind of support, it wouldn’t be as good as it is...people like Frank are magic, it’s magic what he does for the children every year."
"I’m very grateful that I’m still here after overcoming cancer, I’m grateful to Whipps Cross because I had my chemo here and I also want to say thank you to the doctors and nurses for the wonderful work they' ve been doing throughout the pandemic, they have my total admiration for what they do and I wish them all a merry Christmas."