Magical moment sick kids' ward transformed into Polar Express thanks to YOU

THE Polar Express made a stop to see poorly children this week – and it was roarsome.

On board the famous festive train were Santa, two lifelike polar bears, a 6ft teddy conductor, as well as The Grinch, Frozen’s Elsa and a real-life Elf On The Shelf.

It was all part of bringing some much-needed cheer to kids spending the countdown to Christmas at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, West Mids.

But experiences like this can only happen because of support from the kind-hearted public.

That’s why we are asking YOU to donate to Joy To The Ward, to sprinkle some extra magic at children’s wards and beyond this Christmas.

Clutching her tiny newborn son, mum Georgia Harding, 21, pictured, said: “It’s lovely for the kids on the ward. It’s a bit of sparkle for them.”

Georgia is hoping two-week-old Joseph will be home for Christmas after he came along nearly seven weeks early.

She said: “He’s my best gift ever.”


The Sun’s Joy To The Ward appeal is raising money for NHS Charities Together, the national, independent charity supporting more than 230 NHS charities across the UK.

Your donations will help support children and families going through the toughest times imaginable, providing specialist equipment and services along with toys, play- workers, parents’ accommodation and much more.

DONATE ONLINE: Scan the QR code above with your phone camera to go straight through to our donation page or

DONATE BY TEXT: Text JOY to 70607 to donate £10 to NHS Charities Together. You’ll be charged £10, plus one message at your standard network rate. NHS Charities Together will receive 100% of your donation.

DONATE BY POST: Use the coupon on the left.

  • NHS Charities Together is the trading name of the Association of NHS Charities. Registered Charity No 1186569 (England & Wales) and SC050716 (Scotland). Company No 12325259

We are raising money for NHS Charities Together, which supports more than  230 NHS charities, providing the extras that Government funds don’t stretch to, from specialist equipment and therapies to uplifting experiences like this.

Karen Anderson, head of Children’s Services at Russells Hall Hospital, said it  has been hard to raise funds this year.

She explained: “Covid has meant people have not been able to fundraise as before. Plus people have had their own pressures.

“For the first time in my six years here, we had to ask the community for help. Giving children a positive experience in hospital means they’re not fearful of coming.

“And, at Christmas, if we can deliver something special, it can only be a good thing.”

For IT worker Emma Thomas, 40, a cot-side visit from Father Christmas for her 20-month-old son Theo was overwhelming.

Theo came into hospital struggling to breathe with a chest infection. But he was happy with his gift from Santa and blew kisses to thank him.

Wiping away tears, Emma said: “Theo missed seeing Santa with his cousins. Having this special day means so much. The kids’ faces light up.”

Orla Bickley, 15, has been in hospital for more than two weeks and  helped  put together the Polar Express display.

She said: “A little bit of Christmas magic is so needed at this time of year. Any donations are  appreciated.”

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “The Polar Express has brought the magic of Christmas to the wards, and much-needed smiles to young faces.

“It’s more important than ever for the public to back the NHS. You can provide the vital extras that make a big difference to sick patients and exhausted staff. We’re so grateful for your support.”

We’ll double your donation

THE Sun’s parent company News UK will match-fund your donation.

So if you give £10, the total donation is £20.

Match-funding is available for the first £20,000 of donations so please give what you can.

A News UK spokeswoman said: "No parent would choose for their child to be in hospital at Christmas and we're really happy to support this very worthwhile cause."

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