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Secret Santa 'with a twist' at OUH

21/12/2020

Staff working in intensive care at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) have generously donated hundreds of Christmas gifts to foodbanks and homeless charities across Oxfordshire.

Instead of doing a usual 'Secret Santa' with colleagues this festive period, staff at the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals in Oxford wanted to give something back to the local community for their constant support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secret Santa with a twist involved dozens of staff donating hundreds of items such as books, food, board games, and toiletries.

Gifts will go to the Witney Besom, Abingdon foodbank, Oxford Community Emergency Food Bank in Littlemore, and local homeless charities.

These thoughtful contributions were made by staff from the Adult Intensive Care Unit (AICU) at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at the Churchill.

Helen Pickworth, Deputy Sister on AICU and one of the organisers of the donations, said: “At the start of the pandemic we were lucky enough to receive donations of food and gifts from members of the public and shops to help to support us through the first wave.

"We are incredibly grateful for that and we felt that, this Christmas, instead of giving each other gifts, we should give instead to those who might need support this festive period.

"We hope that this Secret Santa with a twist will make their Christmas a little bit easier and brighter."

Helen and colleague Jess Pountney, Deputy Sister, organised donations from AICU staff while Glory Arcenal, Deputy Sister, arranged gifts from CICU colleagues.

Lyn Bennett, Matron on AICU, said: "As Matron I have again been humbled by the team. They have shown such inspiring professionalism and compassion during a very difficult period - and they have now done something wonderful from their own pockets.

"Their generosity will make such a positive difference to people who need support, and I am so proud of my ICU colleagues for giving back to the communities we have been so well supported by."

Pictured: (from left) Giving back: Pamela Bonney, AICU Housekeeper; Helen Pickworth and Jess Pountney, both AICU Deputy Sisters; and Trevor Venes, AICU Deputy Matron.