Bringing Christmas sparkle to Lambeth Palace

Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018
Decorating Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Patient, Uzayr Haider, hands a Christmas decoration to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Children and young people from Evelina London helped to decorate Lambeth Palace in time for Christmas.

A group of five young patients joined the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and his wife, Caroline, to decorate the Palace’s 8ft Christmas tree with handmade stars, and paper baubles. Children and young people created the colourful decorations in a special session with our play specialists using paint, glitter and tissue paper.

Uzayr Haider, 15, from Gravesend in Kent, travelled to the palace to help the Archbishop to decorate the tree. Uzayr had a kidney transplant from an altruistic kidney donor in November. He has been treated at Evelina London since he was two-years-old.

Uzayr said: “It was a really fun event. I have never been to a palace before and it was beautiful. The Archbishop was very friendly and relaxed. This is the first thing I’ve done since my kidney transplant and I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to take part.”

Tracy Sutherland, our play specialist team leader, said: “We are very grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for inviting our patients to Lambeth Palace. The Palace is next door to Evelina London, so it was really nice to be able to offer our patients the opportunity to visit. All of the children were really excited and had a lot of fun decorating the Christmas tree with the Archbishop and his wife.”

As part of a separate project, our patients have designed stars to decorate the hoardings surrounding the new Lambeth Palace Library building site. The new library is being built across the road from the hospital. The construction is due to finish in 2020.

Tracy Sutherland said: “It was lovely to get our patients involved in this project as the construction site can be easily seen from Evelina London. All of the children have done a great job designing their stars and should feel very proud of themselves for taking part. It’s really great that our patients will be able to walk past the hoardings and see their designs.”

The Archbishop said: “It was wonderful to welcome Evelina London patients to Lambeth Palace to help us decorate our Christmas tree, and the beautiful artwork they have created to decorate the Lambeth Palace Library construction site is a blessing. Christmas is a time for giving gifts – as we remember the gift that Jesus is to us – and I want to thank the children for the gifts they have given to us.”

Oliver Driscoll, director at Knight Harwood Ltd, the construction company building the new library, said: “Evelina London is the nearest building to the construction site so we wanted to make sure all the hospital’s patients and staff felt involved in the project. The theme of this workshop is ‘follow the star’ which relates to the fast approaching Christmas period. We are thankful for all of the children’s hard work on their designs which look fantastic. It’s really helped to brighten up the site and we are delighted to involve Evelina London in our project.”