Patients at Leeds Children’s Hospital will receive a special visit from Santa Claus today (21 December) when the festive favourite was elevated up to the windows of the inpatient wards at the Clarendon Wing. 

Due to Covid-19, the hospital has had to restrict access to the wards – including visits from Santa - to stop the spread of the virus among patients, their families and hospital staff. 

Thanks to BAM Construction, Santa was transported to all four floors of the hospital on a special ‘cherry-picker’ driven by his trusty Elf sidekick to talk to patients who are  currently in hospital, many of whom are likely to still be in over Christmas. 

Leeds Children’s Hospital’s Deputy Head of Nursing Laura Whelan said: “Being in hospital at Christmas is hard for our young patients but our team pulls out all the stops to make it as fun as possible. This year we’ve had to think really creatively about how we can keep the Christmas magic alive and with the help of our charities and supporters we have had some fantastic virtual activities for patients to get involved in. 

“Having Santa visit from outside really is the icing on the cake and brought lots of smiles to these brave little faces. We can’t thank BAM Construction enough for their help.”

Last year in December, the Children’s Hospital saw 6927 children and young people as outpatients and nearly 2000 had a day case procedure or inpatient stay. It is one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country providing specialist care for children and young people from across the north of England. 

Matthew Garnett, a Construction Manager with BAM which has worked on many buildings for the Trust, said:

“We’ve grown extremely fond of our friends at the Trust and there is no way we’d leave patients at Leeds Children's Hospital without a visit from Santa even in this terribly difficult year. 

“It was the least BAM could do to find a cherry picker, Santa and an elf. I hope this small act of Christmas spirit spreads a little sunshine for those in hospital at this time of year.”

The cherry-picker was kindly supplied by Nationwide Platforms. 

Play Specialist Megan Holmes said: “Santa’s visit this morning was definitely a ‘wow’ moment for the children – we’ve been busy all weekend helping them make ‘Santa, Stop Here’ signs for the windows! It was great to be able to make their dreams come true after such a difficult year – things like this make a real difference to patients’ wellbeing and give us all a boost.”