Two Eastbourne parents have started a charity to bring a heart-warming Christmas surprise to ill children in the town.
Gabrielle Randone and her partner Nick Burnett started Gifts4Kidz in September with the aim of collecting unwanted toys and games to give to children who were spending the festive period in hospital.
The Friston Ward at the Eastbourne DGH has agreed the pair can visit the week before Christmas to hand out all the presents that have been donated.
Gabrielle said, “The reason we started is because we feel everything is about the kids. We have four boys of our own and we give them everything we can, not just in material things but they are our world.
“We know there are children out there that are not as fortunate as others and also, some are in hospital over Christmas when they should be at home, with their families, having a happy time.
“So, we thought a little something to make a child smile, an unexpected surprise, would be a lovely thing.
“I stayed in Ashford hospital in April with my (then) four-week-old baby and the children’s ward was heartbreaking, seeing all the little children with various illnesses and disabilities. It broke my heart every time I walked through the ward.”
Despite only being up and running for little over two months, Gifts4Kidz has already received overwhelming support from the local community. Now, with five weeks to go until Christmas Day, the pair are hoping to do one last big push to get as many presents as possible.
Gabrielle added, “We are currently in need of more toys and, if possible, wrapping paper and shoe boxes to place each toy inside.
“So far, we have had great support from local people. Our friends in Old Town have shared our Facebook page and then their friends have as well. With great sharing has proved a lot of response.
“We have had many donations of wonderful toys and Nick and I have also donated our children’s unwanted toys. Our family has also brought their toys over for the charity.”
For more information on the charity or if anybody wishes to donate toys or games, they are urged to get in touch with Gabrielle via the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SussexGifts4kidz to arrange collection or delivery of the items.