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16 December 2016

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Military Planning Skills Brings Christmas Cheer to Hope House Hospice Residents

THE personnel at local airbase RAF Shawbury put their best military planning skills to good use to bring some Christmas surprises to the residents of Hope House Children’s Hospice last week.

Hope House

Following the success of last year’s event, the staff in Air Traffic Control (ATC) volunteered to muster support from staff and families based at RAF Shawbury and collect Christmas gifts for the residents of Hope House Children’s Hospice.

Hope House at Oswestry and Ty Gobaith at Conwy - provide care and support to life-limited children, young people and their families from Shropshire, Cheshire, North and Mid Wales. They offer a range of services, including respite and end-of-life care at the hospices and/or within the family home, and support such as counselling, advocacy and the promotion of children, young people's and carers' rights. Children, young people and family members are welcomed into a friendly, homely environment, with the child or young person at the centre.

Hope House

Hope House

Sgt Jimmy Brandford, one of the organising team from ATC said: “We had great success with last year’s collection and once again ATC asked the RAF Shawbury community for donations of new children’s toys which were unwrapped and still in their packaging; this allowed the ATC staff to identify if the toys would be suitable presents for a boy or girl and in which age group. The team then carefully wrapped and labelled them so that they could be given to the children under the care of Hope House. The support shown by everyone at RAF Shawbury was fantastic and they were extremely generous in their donations; in all over 70 brand new Christmas toys were donated. A big thank you must go out to 660 Squadron Army Air Corps who opted to forego their usual ‘Secret Santa’ event in aid of this initiative and made up a large proportion of the gifts collected.”

Meanwhile planning was underway to provide a surprise arrival for Father Christmas at the Hospice.

Major Dan McBride commented: “As many people in Shropshire are aware Father Christmas (aka; Santa) is particularly busy during December getting around to the various playgroups, hospices and children’s village fayres. As a result the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) and the Central Flying School (Helicopter) Squadron (CFS(H)), based at RAF Shawbury, like to lend a hand to assist him in his onerous and busy task. On 5th December WOI John Sweeney, CFS(H), planned a mission to fly Santa to visit Hope House. Hope House is of particular importance to the squadron as it is their nominated charity. ”

Meanwhile, members of ATC squadron drove to Hope House to rendezvous with Santa. All personnel were honoured to help Santa deliver the lovely presents to the hospice residents who were thrilled to spend some quality time chatting to Santa and the team whilst opening their presents.

By Maj Dan McBride, AAC, CFS(H) and Sgt Jimmy Brandford

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