Spirits are high amongst children in York who need to go into hospital regularly after kicking off the new year with a party funded by York Teaching Hospital Charity and generous donations including the support of a local retail park.

Vangarde Shopping Park raised over £800 for the charities Play Specialist team who organise the party every year for children who have chronic conditions, which means they have to visit the hospital regularly and spend a lot of time there.

Around 50 children attend the annual party with their families and the play team fundraise themselves to pay for food, entertainment and gifts. Vangarde’s donations bought 50 teddy bears to hand out at the party and the remainder will go towards creating a dedicated Teenage Room on the Children’s Ward at York Hospital.

Maggie Bulman, corporate fundraiser at York Teaching Hospital Charity, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the Vangarde team for all of their fundraising efforts and the park’s shoppers for their generosity.”

Leanne Haycock, senior play specialist, says the parties allow children to see staff in non-ward environment to just have fun and provides a good opportunity for families with children who may have similar conditions to meet and support each other.

She said: “Everyone had a fantastic time and the money raised will help make things better for children of all ages who need to be in hospital.

“The Play team and the Ward are overwhelmed by the generosity and support from Vangarde staff and customers.”

Deb O’Donnell, centre manager at Vangarde, joined staff at the party to present children with the teddy bears, alongside Carl and Stevie from the park’s facilities management team who helped raise the money.

Deb said: “We love getting involved in events that we have fundraised for. It’s very rewarding for the team to experience first hand the difference the money makes that they helped raised.

“Vangarde raised more than £11k in 2018, which has helped numerous local charities and organisations and we are looking forward to continuing to work with York Teaching Hospital Charity this year.”