7 December 2017
Pop star Emma Bunton brought some spice to the lives of staff, children and their families on the wards at Barnet Hospital earlier this week.
Emma, aka Baby Spice, donned a festive mistletoe jumper as she was among the first to wish everybody on Galaxy ward a merry Christmas.
The Heart radio presenter was also joined by her fiance Jade Jones, formerly of boy band Damage, and Minnie and Micky Mouse. The pair, who have two sons aged six and 10, chatted to fellow parents and quickly made friends with the children.
“I’m hoping to get lots of kisses wearing this jumper,” joked Emma.
The visit, which included delivering donated presents to patients, was organised by the hospital in conjunction with charity Camp Simcha. The charity’s annual toy drive sees 70 plus nurseries, schools and community and youth groups collecting new toys and gifts for seriously ill children of all denominations who are spending the festive period in hospitals and hospices.
Throughout the year Camp Simcha directly supports Jewish families who have a seriously ill child, through a range of practical and emotional support services, as well as positive experiences to improve the quality of life for the children.
Emma said: “I’d got talking to Brigit because our children both go the same drama club and she told me about this charity she was involved with and asked if I would come along to help deliver the donated presents. I was thrilled to say ‘yes’ and to come back to Barnet Hospital. I’ve stayed at the hospital and so have my family. It’s our local hospital and it really means a lot to me to be here.”
Andrea Nicholas, senior play specialist, said: “Christmas is a really special time of year on Galaxy ward. We always try and make it as special as possible for children and their families. My partner even comes in on Christmas Day dressed as Santa Claus!”
Emma and Jade got chatting to Shreena Patel whose seven-month-old son, Diyan (pictured with Emma), has been at Barnet Hospital for over five weeks and was about to go to Great Ormond Street for open heart surgery to help mend a large hole in his heart.
Diyan was all smiles but reserved his largest ones for Mickey and Minnie Mouse who had joined Emma for the visit.
“Everyone’s a fan of Mickey and Minnie aren’t they?” said Emma.
Melena Marneros and her eight-year-old son Savvas were delighted to see Emma and Jade who had a magic set to give to Savvas.
Savvas had come in to Barnet Hospital with suspected appendicitis and although doctors had ruled it out they were still doing tests to find out what the problem was.
Melena said to Emma and Jade: “Thank you for coming in to see us. It’s a difficult time but it’s really thoughtful of you to give up your time to visit. It definitely gives us a boost.”
Emma and Jade happily posed for pictures with patients, parents and staff and thanked everyone for making them feel so welcome and paid tribute to the dedication of staff on the ward. Emma’s Christmas jumper certainly did the trick - there were kisses and hugs galore!