Santa Claus came in the form of Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, Thursday evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
The island’s second female Governor General paid a visit to the 23 children of ward C7 and C8 to give gifts and spread some holiday cheer. Chairman of the QEH Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer of the QEH Dr Dexter James and members of the executive management team and senior nursing officers were also in attendance to partake in the festivities.
The St Leonard’s Boys School Choir roused the Christmas excitement performing covers of classics such as Silent Night, Oh Come All Ye Faithful and The Truth Sent From Above. The young talented vocalists were warmly received by Dame Sandra and the QEH staff.
As the Governor General presented the children in the ward with their gifts, the Hindsbury Primary School Choir’s joyful Christmas renditions delighted the children, aged from three weeks to 14 years, their parents and the staff on the ward.
Some parents could be seen at the sidelines singing along or dancing as the primary school students performed popular carols such as O Holy Night and Christmas remakes of popular soca singles Boat Ride and Something Is Happening. The chorus ‘It’s Christmas we eating’ was addictive, but it was their enactment that caused laughter amongst those gathered. The youngsters closed off their delivery with a lively performance of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
Some children, like five-year-old Nicholai Blackman, squealed in delight when it was explained to him that Dame Sandra’s present was a Christmas gift. When his grandmother told him that the Nativity was in 19 days, Blackman could not contain his excitement.
Head of the Department of Pediatrics Dr Angela Jenning while expressing her gratitude for the Governor General’s visit, noted that the Christmas season was extremely difficult for children who were in the hospital and called for an increase in volunteerism whether it be persons reading or playing with the children. Jennings thanked both the private sector and the nonprofit non-governmental organizations which provided intangible and tangible assistance. However, she concluded that the department was always encouraging persons to give whenever they can.
“These are our children that we are looking after and at the end of the day, our aim is to provide the best care that we can for them. That care is not necessarily with equipment which is important but also time spent with the kids. We know it takes a village to raise a child and sometimes some parents just do not have that support,” the head of the pediatrics department stated.