Bexhill Hospital's Christmas spirit

PRAYER for patients, staff and the work of the League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital preceded a Christmas morning tradition.

Town Mayor Cllr Jimmy Carroll paid the customary mayoral visit to the hospital’s Irvine Unit.

League of Friends social committee chairman Harriett Chapman had, as usual, been busy gift-wrapping a car boot-full of gifts from the charity for the 40 patients who would be spending Christmas in the unit.

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Colleagues, including chairman Stuart Earl, secretary Ann Dowling, vice president Peter Mitchell-Davis and committee member Douglas Mayne, were assisted in bringing the presents into the festively-decorated unit by Alice Webster, head of unscheduled care for Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust, and her six year-old son, Samuel.

Sister Claire Conely, Staff Nurse Amy Junekiya and other Irvine Unit staff were preparing patients for the serving of a traditional Christmas Day menu of roast turkey.

Prayer was led by the unit’s chaplain, the Rev Neville Barnett, before Douglas Mayne took charge of a medicine trolley which had been pressed into service as Santa’s delivery sleigh.

Each gift from the league comprises a bag laden with essential items to make a stay in hospital comfortable.

The Mayor’s busy round of gift deliveries nearly stalled at the first green. It was to the room occupied by 83-year-old John Steeds. The two quickly discovered a mutual interest in golf - and everyone knows how long golfers can chat…

For Amy Junekiya, every Christmas Day is a double celebration. It is also her birthday.

With the Mayor, Douglas Mayne and the Rev Barnett looking, as Alice Webster put it, “like the Three Wise Men bearing gifts” as the laden trolley made its way through the unit, the party made their rounds from unit bay to bay.

Cllr Carroll heard from patient Patricia Morris about her hopes for moving into a warmer flat after her discharge.

At every bedside there was a different story but the same cheery message from the visitors.

ABOVE: Mayor Jimmy Carroll chats with Patricia Morris

LEFT: Rehabilitation Support Worker Jo Warrell-Sygrave with festive headgear as Samuel Webster lends a hand with the present-delivering.