Salford volunteer raises funds for new hospital Christmas tree

A Salford volunteer has raised money for a new Christmas tree to lift the spirits of patients spending the festive period at Salford Royal hospital.

Sylvia Cheetham, 68, from Wardley, raised over £100 from staff and local residents through a JustGiving page.

The tree was placed in the hospital’s dementia garden, at the centre of the Ladywell building, on Tuesday 3 December.

Sylvia said: “The staff on the wards do a lot for the patients to raise money for Christmas presents, things at Easter.

“Each time of the year, as well as their job, they’re working for raffles and things like that.”

Sylvia Cheetham stood by the new Christmas Tree in the Dementia Garden
Sylvia Cheetham stood by the new Christmas Tree in the Dementia Garden
Sylvia Cheetham in the Ladywell building’s dementia garden

Sylvia received £115 from the appeal and, with DIY retailer B&Q supplying the tree for half price, she was able to purchase additional decorations.

Sylvia, who won the hospital’s Volunteer of the Year award in November, hopes the garden’s festive makeover will bring relief to patients spending Christmas day on the unit.

She added: “Staff try to make it as normal as possible, but sometimes I think it’s nice if you can just come off the ward and see the actual things that you’d do at home on Christmas.

“You’d put your Christmas tree up and the decorations and — it might sound silly this — feel the cold, what it’s like, because it can be so warm in the hospitals.”

The dementia garden opened in 2014 for patients suffering from memory loss. It includes a red telephone box, benches, and green spaces.

Sylvia said: “It can be quite lovely to see someone going back with memory problems, having a chat about the telephone box and how they used to use it.”

Lucy Boulter manages Salford Royal’s volunteer service. She said that volunteers help to improve patients’ experience of the hospital, from helping at mealtimes to acting as guides.

“We have 350 volunteers here at Salford Royal and they do a wide range of volunteering roles.

“Sylvia, for instance, does some patient activities on the ward, so she’ll do crafts and getting the patients up and out of bed and into the day rooms doing some more social activities.”

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