Above: Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi and Sir John Burn
On Thursday 1st December, Newcastle Hospitals Charity, the official charity for Newcastle Hospitals, was joined by Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi to help to brighten the Freeman Hospital with festive lights and bring some seasonal cheer to NHS staff, patients, and visitors.
Crowds flocked to the hospital to see Shola countdown to the big event, and also enjoyed a welcome speech from Sir John Burn, Chairman of the Trust.
They were joined by a choir of young pupils from Cragside Primary School, who kicked off the evening of celebration with some festive songs, as well as Star Wars cosplayers North East Legion, who delighted attendees, and volunteers from local company Concentrix, who handed out mince pies and snacks to the audience.
Joining Shola as he turned on the lights were special patients from Ward 23 and PICU at the Freeman Hospital, including Nour and her Dad (pictured below with Shola (L) and Sir John Burn (R)).
Speaking about the event, Shola said: ”It’s amazing to see communities come together like this and that’s what Christmas is all about really. And fabulous to see the local school kids singing as a choir.
“For me, as someone who went to school at Heaton Manor, it’s really nice to be able to come back and celebrate with everyone here. My mum used to work at the Freeman Hospital, for a number of years actually, as a surgical nurse. She loved it and I used to come and spend time with her here, so it feels like I’m coming home a little bit. It’s very familiar.
“It’s such an honour and a privilege to help turn these lights on and it was great to see the kids from the wards being able to come down and take part. It made it a really special occasion.”
The Festive Illuminations event at the RVI was supported by local companies; Geoffrey Robinson Ltd, Medical Architecture, Robertson CE Limited and CAD 21.
Image credit – Gavin Forster Photography