Christmas Day inside St Luke's: No doom and gloom at Sheffield hospice as staff aim to make festive day special

Christmas at St Luke's is anything but doom and gloom. In fact - it would put many festive celebrations to shame.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 5:50 pm
Inpatient nurses Lorraine Watson and Ann Whiteley are working Christmas Day

The Sheffield hospice pulls out all the stops to make the day as enjoyable as it possibly can. It could very well be someone's last Christmas and it's all about making memories for the patient and their family and friends.

A live choir, a visit from Santa handing out presents and food you'd expect from a top restaurant are just some of the things which try to make the day special.

Head of inpatient care at St Luke's, Ginny Shipston

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Ginny Shipston, head of inpatient care at St Luke's chats away in her office as Christmas decorations and Santa sacks ready to be handed out lay on the floor.

DONATE TO ST LUKE'S CHRISTMAS APPEAL HEREShe explains what most people initially think when they first come to St Luke's and their perception is soon changes.

"One lady told me recently she thought this place was where you were wheeled off to die - which what a lot of people say and a lot of people might think that from the outside looking in.

"What she soon realised is it's about living to the full and that is what Christmas is all about.

Head of inpatient care at St Luke's, Ginny Shipston

"We plan things going up to Christmas so if people want to spend time at home with family then we sort them out with the appropriate care in place."

Ginny explains that a lot more patients are being cared for in the community but for the ones that stay at the hospice on Little Common Lane in Whirlow are in for a treat.

"The patients that are here on December 25 are treated to something special. We have the Sheffield Hallmark Harmony Choir coming in and they move throughout the wards so people that can't come out of their rooms have the chance to see them.

"We had a young woman with her husband, children and family around on Christmas Day and we knew she was in her final days and her last Christmas.

"She was only about 30 bless her and they wheeled her out and they sang her favourite Christmas son and because her small children were there it just made it really special for that family.

"It's about making memories and I'm sure we did that little something for the family to remember."

Ann Whiteley has been working as a St Luke's nurse for 37 years. She's not worked all of them but she knows exactly what to expect on the day.

She said Christmas is as good as it was in 1980 than it is today.

"People often say 'oh you're working Christmas Day' but it's actually good fun.

"If we can't get people home for the Christmas then we invite their family in and we try our very best to make the it best day possible.

"The patients wake up with a small stocking and we go from there. The patient is our number one priority and Christmas is no different - whatever they can get out of it we will endeavour to do that.

Fellow nurse Lorraine Watson works Christmas Day every year and she'll be doing the rounds and joining in the festivities again come December 25.

"It's great day to work, I love it. Christmas dinner is excellent and staff, patients and families come together and eat together which is really nice.

"Most people volunteer to work Christmas - we get lots of volunteers who come and want to make the day special like the choir to make it really festive."

St Luke's relies on generous charitable donations from members of the public to carry on their outstanding work.

To donate, click here