How 450 snowflakes will boost Sheffield Children's Hospital - and mark the start of Christmas
“Many people have said to me, ‘Christmas starts when the snowflakes are on the kids hospital, which is amazing’, said the woman in charge of organising one of Sheffield’s festive institutions.
Sophie Coburn co-ordinates the now famous and vital fundraiser that is the snowflake appeal for Sheffield Children’s Hospital each year.
What started as just eight snowflake illuminations has grown, and this year there will be more than 450 spread across eight sites for the first time. In seven years the appeal has raised more than £1m for the hospital.
Sophie, corporate partnerships officer at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity, added: “People just love being a part of it.
"Because there are so many snowflakes on the side of the hospital now you really can’t miss it, it is so eye catching.
"It’s great to be able to tell the sponsors where their money is going too.”
Many Sheffield companies sponsor a snowflake year after year, and the one on the tower building of the hospital, which costs £7,000 and comes with the privilege of turning the snowflakes on, has already been sold for 2021. Benefits include having their firm’s name on a snowflake and being able to highlight their involvement in the well-known Sheffield fundraiser.
But it isn’t just businesses who can get involved.
Families, individuals and even communities have clubbed together to fundraise for a snowflake, which this year will help raise funds for a much needed £6m helipad at the children’s hospital, so more youngsters needing critical care can be seen faster.
Last year a Sheffield street where neighbours had become closer during lockdown even had their own snowflake on display.
Sophie, who is even known as ‘Snowphie to her colleagues from the end of October each year, added: “It is open to anybody and everybody. It is a lot of work but when you see the impact it has every year it is worth it.”
One of the highlights of Sheffield’s festive calendar is when the snowflakes are switched on.
This year the event is expected to take place on December 6, with final details to be confirmed. To get involved with the appeal email [email protected] The deadline is December 1.
Other sites in Sheffield where the snowflakes will be installed this year include St John’s Church, Owlerton, Sheffield City Hall and Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre.
In the past seven years the snowflakes have raised more than £1m for the cause.