Huge haul of gifts for sick children after hospital theft

Sick children whose Christmas gifts were stolen from St Mary’s hospital will unwrap a huge haul of presents from retailers and the public.

More than 150 toys, worth about £3,000, were being stored in a disused ward when they were taken last month. Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care set up a crowdfunding campaign to replace the presents. The appeal has since raised more than £40,000, with two companies donating hundreds of toys.

Nurse and play specialist Tina Halton, who helps children get through operations and tests, said: “I just had the best time ever. They let us choose from all the gifts here and they’re amazing for our children because they are quirky and a little bit different and fun — which are ideal things to have when you are stuck in hospital.

“We didn’t tell all the children about the presents being stolen as it might be upsetting. But one seven-year-old read the story in the Evening Standard after his dad brought a copy in one afternoon, and he just wanted to know why the thieves hadn’t just written to Santa to get their own presents. It was such a sweet response.”

Philip Bier, Tiger managing director, said: “I saw the story and thought, ‘How can anyone do that?’ You have kids who are very sick and Christmas is a time they can have some joy and some scumbag steals their presents.

“I thought as we are in a position to donate presents we should. It was very humbling meeting the nurses, what they do makes my business responsibilities seem insignificant. They are inspiring.”

On Friday, Danish retailer Tiger welcomed two St Mary’s children’s nurses to its Oxford Street store for taking 200 presents for their young patients.

Very.co.uk today delivered another 150 presents to the hospital for the children, including radio-controlled cars. Kenyatte Nelson, group marketing director at Very.co.uk’s parent company Shop Direct, said: “When we heard what happened at St Mary’s hospital, we really wanted to do what we could to help the situation and support both the children and families this Christmas.”

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