Both Santa and the Sheriff of Southampton dropped in to Ronald McDonald House Southampton, serving Southampton Children’s Hospital and Princess Anne Hospital, to bring some festive cheer. 

The ‘Decorate for December’ annual event is an opportunity for all 14 UK houses, which provide free accommodation and support to families with a sick child in hospital, to ‘deck the halls’ for the holidays. 

Robin Snape, House Manager at Ronald McDonald House Southampton said: “The idea is to create excitement in the House, as we prepare for Christmas, and we invite local politicians to join in and to show them just how special our Charity is.

“It’s a great way to showcase the work we do but above all, it’s about bringing a little bit of joy and magic to our families, especially the siblings, who can find it extremely difficult coping with a brother or sister in hospital. Our House becomes extra special at this time of year, when children are at the centre of everything and being close to family is more important than ever.”

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Councillor Dave Shields, who represents Freemantle ward, said: “To join staff and volunteers to help place baubles on the tree was really special. The care and compassion that goes into making the House a real ‘home away from home’ is clear to see. I can only imagine how devastating it must be to have a critically ill child in hospital. The Ronald McDonald House provides a haven for families who find themselves in this awful situation.”

Daily Echo: Festive fun at Ronald McDonald House Southampton

Ronald McDonald House Southampton has 53 ensuite bedrooms, providing warm and comfortable accommodation for support families with children being treated at Southampton Children’s Hospital and Princess Anne Hospital. In 2022, the House accommodated 916 families for an average of 14 nights.

As well as putting up decorations, guests at Decorate for December enjoyed festive food and soft drinks, and children were invited to have their faces painted and take part in Christmas crafts, to the soundtrack of live singer/ guitarist, Graham Garret. The icing on the cake for many of the younger guests, was a VIP visit from Santa Claus himself, organised by Romsey Round Table.