Christmas snowflakes set Children’s Hospital aglow – and make a wish come true

A flurry of giant snowflakes has made one of Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s big festive wishes come true…

Yesterday (Dec 4) was the big switch-on of the hospital’s fundraising illuminations, transforming the building on Western Bank into a winter wonderland scene once again and ushering in the Christmas season for Sheffield’s children.

This year there was a record-breaking number of sponsored snowflakes, thanks to generous-spirited local businesses and children from 36 local schools who responded magnificently to the first ever opportunity to ‘buy’ a snowflake.

And a great Yuletide cheer went up from crowds on the night when it was announced the amount raised from the 148 festive sparklers supported by local businesses has topped £130,000 – enough to bring The Children’s Hospital Charity’s £200,000 appeal for a life-changing analysis machine for the hospital’s world-renowned chemical laboratory to the finishing line.

The machine, a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometer, is the gold standard for the diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, a condition which is on the rise and can cause rickets in children.

“The region’s amazingly generous businesses have been supporting our Snowflakes Appeal since it started and they did us proud once again,” said Tchad Western, TCHC’s corporate partnerships manager.

“This year local schools were invited to fund a snowflake. In 2016 Penistone Grammar and Westbourne School asked to buy snowflakes and it gave us the idea to open the opportunity up to more schoolchildren. The response was magnificent,” said Cheryl Davidson, TCHC community fundraising manager

After mince pies and hot chocolate, donated as a warming Thank You to sponsors by Starbucks on Western Bank, the big switch-on began with snowflakes sponsored by schools illuminating the night. They were switched on by Listerdale Primary School, which had raised the most money – over £5,100.

The full total raised by schools won’t be known until April, when their fundraising comes to an end, but is expected to top £26,000 and will be used to fund specialist medical equipment for the hospital.

Snowflakes sponsored by local businesses were switched on by Lloyd’s Banking Group. And last but by no means least, the most prominent snowflake of all on the hospital tower, sponsored by Lloyd’s for £5,000, was set aglow.

The illuminations, which many Sheffielders see at the start of the city’s festivities, will glow into the first weeks of January.