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Father Christmas is calling

Posted on Monday 18th December 2017
Cisco virtual Father Christmas visit

Top: Hugo meets Father Christmas, Mrs Christmas and the elves. Bottom: Hugo and his mum with Hugo's gift from Father Christmas.

Evelina London patients and families enjoyed a special surprise when Father Christmas called to talk to children in hospital via a video link.

Patients and families at Evelina London were joined by Mrs Christmas and some elves who made the long journey from the North Pole to spread Christmas cheer this December. Although unable to attend in person, the elves were able to contact their boss, Father Christmas, via video link. From the comfort of his grotto, Father Christmas talked to children at Evelina London whilst supervising the finishing of this year’s presents for delivery on Christmas Eve.

Young patients were stunned to see Father Christmas on a big TV screen. Each family were able to speak to Father Christmas live on a video call and were then given a present by one of the elves.

Hugo, aged two, was meeting Father Christmas for the first time. His mum, Hayley, said:

“Hugo was so excited to go down and see Father Christmas. The team were fantastic and they made a real difference to Hugo’s stay in hospital. Yesterday he had a bad day but this has put a smile back on his face.”

Guney Yilmaz, aged five, also enjoyed meeting Father Christmas virtually. He said:

“I’ve been really good all year so I loved seeing Father Christmas and meeting his elves.”

Terry Robinson, Healthcare Manager – London at IT company, Cisco, has been helping to run the event since Cisco helped Father Christmas to set up video calls five years ago. Each year employees volunteer to help run the calls. Terry said:

“In the early years it was just a few members of staff who made the trip to each hospital we visited. But now we have so many staff who want to come volunteer that we have to turn them away.

“Each year we come it just gets better and better. Even though the staff are really busy they’re always so welcoming and seeing how excited the children get when they find out they’ll get to see Father Christmas in his grotto makes it worth the trip every time.”

Sue Pruden, senior play specialist, organises the event. She said:

“I look forward to Cisco visiting us every year as it marks the start of Christmas at Evelina London. The look of wonder on the children’s faces when they realise they’re really talking to Father Christmas is just magical.”

©  Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
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