Tears and thanks as Lister Hospital's playroom shows off its £250,000 new look

PUBLISHED: 19:19 25 July 2015 | UPDATED: 05:27 26 July 2015

The new play area of Bramble children's ward is officially opened by deputy mayor of Stevenage Councillor John Lloyd and NHS staff including the chief executive of North and East Herts NHS trust Nick Carver in the new Bramble children's ward play area

The new play area of Bramble children's ward is officially opened by deputy mayor of Stevenage Councillor John Lloyd and NHS staff including the chief executive of North and East Herts NHS trust Nick Carver in the new Bramble children's ward play area

Archant

Tears of happiness were shed as appeal organisers and parents praised the spick and span surroundings of Lister Hospital's new play area for young patients - and the people who helped make it happen.

Patients and families get a taste of the new facilities made possible by the Magic of Play appeal at the Lister HospitalPatients and families get a taste of the new facilities made possible by the Magic of Play appeal at the Lister Hospital

Stevenage’s deputy mayor, Councillor John Lloyd, was among the guests at Friday’s official opening, snipping a ceremonial ribbon to set the seal on the successful £250,000 Magic of Play appeal run by the East & North Herts Hospitals’ Charity.

More than 50 major donors, including representatives of local companies and community groups, were invited to the grand opening and the cash keeps on coming – Knebworth’s Masonic lodge handed over £5,000 on the day, and next on senior play specialist Marilyn Goodhew’s list is a facelift for the garden area outside, with specialist firm Morgan Sindall already on board to support the project.

The Magic of Play appeal was launched two years ago to upgrade play facilities which make a stay in hospital a little easier for the 3,000 children treated at the Stevenage hospital every year.

The expanded playroom now has a separate room for teenagers, fully equipped with games and computers, and a brand new sensory room designed for children with special needs and to help children relax in a calming but stimulating environment.

Milo Mapletoft plays in the new sensory roomMilo Mapletoft plays in the new sensory room

There is also a separate room just for those who, due to having a low immune system, cannot mix with other children.

Marilyn tearfully told guests: “We know that if we can provide a happy environment it can aid a quicker recovery.

“This is going to make such a difference to the children, and their parents.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has fundraised for us.

Edward Dunsterville and his mum meet Bella the dogEdward Dunsterville and his mum meet Bella the dog

“Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this dream a reality.”

Shelly Long, whose son Sam has been a regular visitor during three years of successful treatment for leukaemia and who was a dedicated fundraiser for the appeal, also wept as she said: “This was a magical place before, because of the people. Who knows what they will be capable of now?

“This new playroom was very much needed, it will help to make so many children’s stays in hospital so much better.

“Being able to still play even when children are poorly and in hospital is incredibly important and I am really proud that we have been part of this great success.”

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